How ISO’s food management standard may look after revision

By Nye Longman
ISO 22000, the International Standard for food management systems, is set to undergo a complete modification to bring it up to date with todays new food...

ISO 22000, the International Standard for food management systems, is set to undergo a complete modification to bring it up to date with today’s new food safety requirements.
 

The international working group responsible for revising the standard, whose secretariat is held by the Danish Standards Foundation (DS), ISO’s member for Denmark, held its fourth meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the week beginning 4th April 2016.

The standard is now at the Committee Draft (CD) stage – experts have sifted through over 1,000 comments collated by the Danish Standards Foundation. Points for improvement included:

  • Applying ISO’s new High-Level Structure (HLS) to ISO 22000, which is now mandatory when drafting or revising management system standards (MSS). The new structure sets a framework that makes it easier for businesses to integrate more than one MSS at a given time
  • Providing users of ISO 22000 with a new understanding of the different risk-based approaches. The “risk” concept is used in various ways and it is important for food businesses to distinguish between hazard assessment at the operational level, through the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), and the business risk where opportunities also form part of the concept
  • Providing further clarification on how the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle works by including two separate PDCA cycles in the standard, that operate one inside the other. The first will apply to the management system while the second, within it, addresses the operations described in Clause 8, which simultaneously cover the HACCP principles defined by the Codex Alimentarius Commission
  • Giving users a clear description of the differences between Critical Control Points (CCPs), Operational Prerequisite Programmes (OPRPs) and Prerequisite Programmes (PRPs)
     

The new ISO standard will incorporate recognised key elements to ensure food safety at every step of the food chain, right up to the point of consumption. These include:

  • Interactive communication along the food chain
  • A systematic approach to management
  • Prerequisite Programmes
  • HACCP principles
     

ISO’s website stated: “Experts in Buenos Aires decided that a second CD would be necessary in order to have a more mature working document. There are major interests at stake between players in the global food chain, which means that a level of consensus has yet to be reached.

“The task of WG 8 is to clarify and communicate fundamental concepts in the simplest and most concise terms in order to produce a standard that is understandable and easy to implement in businesses, big or small, up and down the food chain.”

Another meeting will be held on 14–16 June 2016 in Copenhagen, Denmark to address further issues while attempting to form a workable consensus. 

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