Food Safety Webinar Q and A session from Cor Groenveld

 

LRQA Food blog from Cor Groenveld


For today's post, I have chosen a few good questions from the Q&A session from the live webinar that I hosted last week. Follow this link to watch this webinar 'Food safety in the supply chain - Where are we now?' in full.

 

For today's post, I have chosen a few good questions from the Q&A session from the live webinar that I hosted last week. Follow this link to watch this webinar 'Food safety in the supply chain - Where are we now?' in full.

Q1: Will GFSI approve any standards for food packaging activities?

There is now a development of a PAS document for packaging materials, and I know that at the upcoming Global Food Safety Conference in London, the GFSI will have a working group looking at expanding the scope of GFSI to other activities, which could include packaging. At the moment, GFSI covers food ingredients, food products, and primary production but there will be a working group also looking at for instance packaging materials and animal feed. So we see that the GFSI is now looking to expand their scope and then it could be possible that certification schemes for packaging materials can also get GFSI recognition. So I think that during the conference in February in London that will be very interesting to follow.

Q2: We have an IFS food standard and BRC but they have two certificates. When will those standards accept each other?

The issue is mainly that we need the retailers to have mutual acceptance of the GFSI standards. So a number of retailers are doing that already but there is still work to do. And I think again that at the GFSI event in London this will be absolutely an important topic and I hope that we take a good step in the right direction to have mutual acceptance of it.

Q3: There are food safety concerns linked with the primary and secondary packaging.

I hope that the PAS document for packaging materials will be published as soon as possible, they aim to have it ready mid year, 2011 but okay that’s a challenge. Then I think that the producers of packaging materials will start to use it and that will be a good step forward, specifically for this sector.

Q4: Are pet foods covered by current certification schemes?

That is a very good question, there was a discussion I think only two years ago within ISO22000, and ISO22000 accepts pet food within the scope. That was the decision of the 22000 working group was that pet foods can be certified for ISO22000. The owners of the FSSC 22000 certification scheme also had a discussion on the board of stakeholders which resulted in FSSC also accepting pet food in their scope.

Q5: We are a catering company what can we do?

Well if you are a catering company at the moment you can use ISO22000 because ISO22000 can be used by the whole supply chain, its from farm to fork, it includes even packaging materials, it even includes food service companies like cleaning companies, like pest control companies and also catering services. As I said there is now an initiative within ISO to develop a Prerequisite Programme (PRP) document, it is a work in progress, we want it already, and of course when that document will be published and FSSC will also use it in their certification scheme and then it’s also possible to have an FSSC approval. But you can already use ISO22000 catering service is within the scope, so that’s not a problem.

Q6: Up to what level of detail should we go with PAS220 requirements to comply with ISO22000, especially in developing countries?

That is a very good question again. The diplomatic answer is: it depends. When you want to be certified against FSSC for instance that requires ISO22000 and PAS220, the answer is quite clear you just need to meet the “shall’s” in the PAS220. The shall’s are things you have to implement, so when you read a shall in that standard you have to meet it but there is an introduction in PAS220 and that is very helpful. The introduction says when any of the requirements in this document are not applicable or if you control one of the issues in another way that is still effective, that is acceptable as long as you can motivate it.

So it is possible to have an exception or a non applicable situation for one of the requirements but then you have to motivate for instance to an auditor why it’s not applicable or why you have controlled something in a different way. So there is flexibility in the PAS220, but in principle, also in developing country there is of course a minimum level of food safety and it doesn’t matter where product come from. Doesn’t matter if it comes from Netherlands, from the UK, from India or from Kenya there is a minimum level of food safety and we all need to meet it because products that are in the supermarket have to be safe, it doesn’t matter where they come from.

Q7: What is the difference between HACCP and ISO22000?

Oh, that’s again a good question; in fact there are no bad questions of course. The principles of HACCP are developed by the Codex Alimentarius. The HACCP principles are a methodology to identify potential hazards, to see if those hazards are significant and those hazards have to be controlled by CCPs. In short, that is the HACCP principles from Codex. What ISO22000 has done, is that they took exactly the same principles of HACCP and they embedded them in a management system environment.

What does it mean? 

Well if you look at the Codex principles you will not find any requirements on food safety policy or objectives, you will not find any requirement on continuous improvement, on using Deming Circles or on doing root course analysis for problems; all those management system requirements are in ISO22000. So, 22000 uses exactly the same principles of Codex HACCP but they embedded them in a management system environment. As a result, that makes of course HACCP a much stronger pull because we all know that the management system approach ensures that you are not only managing the hazards and risks very well but you also are working with continuous improvement and preventing things going wrong. So that’s in short the difference between HACCP and ISO22000.

Remember....

I will also be at the event in London (16th February - 18th February) which is one of the biggest global food safety conferences. 

You can find out more about LRQA's food month activities at www.food.lrqa.com

Read my previous blog and listen to my podcasts