Protecting your business with a Food Safety Management System
Foodborne illnesses affect nearly 600 million people annually, and in the era of COVID-19, food health and safety have become a top priority worldwide. With the industry facing outbreaks, shortages, and disruptions, it is crucial that players across the food value chain – from farms and processing plants, to retailers and restaurants – meet growing demand for safe, healthy food, while protecting the well-being of workers.
In honor of World Food Safety Day, Laure-Anne Mathieu, Bureau Veritas’ Global Food Audit Manager, talks us through the advantages of a robust Food Safety Management System for today’s food market.
What is a Food Safety Management System?
A Food Safety Management System (FSMS) is a systematic approach that food companies use to identify and mitigate food safety hazards. An FSMS must be based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles, which identify, evaluate and control food safety hazards from production to consumption. FSMS also incorporate prerequisite programs (PRP) like Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
Because FSMS enable food industry players to consistently ensure food safety, they are legally required to do business in most parts of the world, and critical to earning and maintaining the confidence of consumers and other key food industry stakeholders.
How is Covid-19 affecting food safety?
The rise of Covid-19 has increased the need for food companies to prove their adherence to rigorous health and safety guidelines. Consumers are more aware than ever of the international origins of their food, and are turning a critical eye to the global supply chain.
To maintain consumer during Covid-19, food companies are looking to improve safety and health, responding to consumer needs by turning to FSMS and hygiene guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO). For example, facilities with large numbers of employees have had to increase emphasis on critical control points, and train back-up employees to take over for absent workers.
What are the options for an FSMS?
Companies can choose among several high-quality FSMS that are internationally recognized, built around preventative controls and applicable to actors throughout the food value chain.
- The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) provides world-renowned food certification programs that cover farming, packaging, storage, distribution and more. The most widely accepted certification in the food industry, GFSI Benchmarking process offers food companies access to markets worldwide and reduces trade barriers.
- ISO 22000 combines several food safety standards into a comprehensive set of requirements that allow food companies to identify and control safety hazards. ISO 22000 also integrates elements of GMP, HACCP and other leading preventive procedures.
- FSSC 22000 is a GFSI-approved food safety standard based on ISO 22000 that enhances access to global markets for suppliers, processors, manufacturers and more. As of January 2020, food companies can implement version 5 of this rigorous food safety standard.
- Brand Reputation through Compliance Global Standards (BRCGS) and International Food Standard (IFS) are industry-specific standards for food safety and quality. Certification to these standards helps food companies access international markets, improve relationships with food distributors and reduce food safety risk.
How can Bureau Veritas support food companies with FSMS certification?
Bureau Veritas provides Testing, Inspection and Certification services for all stages of the food supply chain, helping food manufacturers, processors and suppliers certify their FSMS, including GFSI and ISO 22000. We support industry players looking to provide greater supply chain transparency to their customers, delivering audits and performing lab testing for products labelled gluten free, organic, GMO-free, etc. Additionally, we offer comprehensive online and in-person training for internal teams, helping them develop the skills to implement a compliant FSMS and adapt it to their company’s needs.
Joint Statement issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), April 2020.