Everything You Need To Know About FSSC 22000

FSSC 22000 is a food safety management system certification scheme based on ISO 22000, a worldwide standard describing the requirements for effective food safety management. FSSC 22000 has been developed by the Foundation for Food Safety Certification and is fully recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

The FSSC 22000 certification scheme has been designed to be compatible with ISO 9001, the quality management system standard, and ISO 14001, the environmental management system standard.

What Does FSSC 22000 Involve?

FSSC 22000 provides a framework for effectively managing an organization’s food safety responsibilities. It includes:

  1. Procedures that address all known food safety hazards
  2. HACCP principles to identify and control these hazards
  3. A systematic approach to the management of food safety along the food chain – from raw material production, procurement, and handling, to manufacturing/preparation, distribution, and consumption of the finished product;
  4. A commitment from top management that provides both the direction and support necessary for the successful implementation of its food safety program.

What Does the Certification Consist?

Essentially, FSSC 22000 is based on existing international standards and includes an independent certification process. This makes it one of the most robust schemes available in the market. The scheme is fully recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and accepted by major retailers around the world.

The certification consists of three parts:

  • A management system audit to the requirements of ISO 22000:2005
  • A prerequisite program audit to the requirements of FSSC 22000
  • An on-site food safety audit to the requirements of Annex I of FSSC 22000

The certification scheme was developed by the independent, non-profit Foundation Food Safety Certification (FSC). It is supported by leading industry and association representatives from around the world.

Eligibility for FSSC 22000 Certification

Because the FSSC 22000 is a standard, everyone is eligible to receive FSSC 22000 certification. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small, medium, or large organization. This is different from other food safety systems such as BRC and IFS, where organizations must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for certification.

The FSSC 22000 audits are carried out by third-party auditors called Certification Bodies.

In order to receive FSSC 22000 certification, you need to have implemented the ISO 22000:2005 standard within your organization. This is the base standard of the FSSC 22000 scheme and ISO 22000 certification has now become mandatory for any company seeking FSSC 22000 certification.

What’s the Process of Becoming FSSC 22000 certified?

In order to be certified against FSSC 22000, you will need to choose a certification company that is accredited against FSSC 22000. A list of those companies can be found at the website of the Certification Bodies Accreditation Association (CBAA). The CBAA is an independent accreditation body that aims to ensure the process of certification by a certification body.

Once you have chosen a certification body you will need to contact them and discuss your needs and requirements. They will provide you with more information about the certification process and what they will require from you.

Remember, once you have been certified, this doesn’t mean that you are done. You will need to continue to maintain your management system and if any changes occur in your organization or if there are any changes to the standards then you may need to be recertified against the new standard.

Is There any Training and Examination to be Completed?

When applying for certification you must complete the FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management System (FSMS) training and examination. This will provide you with the knowledge and understanding of the requirements of the standard, and a score of 75% on the examination verifies your competence against a recognized standard.

Once you have completed the training and examination, your certificate will be valid for 3 years from the date of issue. The next step is to select a Certification Body to undertake your audit, who then becomes your Certification Partner.

Note: only Certification Bodies who are accredited to ISO/IEC 17065:2012 are permitted to conduct FSSC 22000 audits.

FSSC 22000 Standard Requirements

The FSSC 22000 standard is for food manufacturers and it requires the following activities:

  • Define the scope of your Food Safety Management System (FSMS).
  • Control your food safety processes.
  • Manage documented information (records) to demonstrate that you comply with the system requirements.
  • Determine what results you need to achieve to provide safe food and how to measure if they are met.
  • Establish, implement and maintain a food safety policy and objectives that are suitable for the organization.
  • Ensure that employees understand their roles in achieving food safety objectives.
  • Define roles, responsibilities, and authority for all employees.
  • Make sure that your suppliers and contractors understand their responsibilities for providing safe products and services.
  • Promote awareness of consumer, statutory and regulatory requirements to ensure compliance with all relevant laws, regulations, and codes of practice.
  • Communicate internally about food safety issues.
  • Communicate externally on how you manage food safety risks in your supply chain if required by regulation or contract specifications.

What’s the Distinction Between FSSC 22000 and ISO 22000

The ISO 22000 standard is a global standard for food safety management systems, developed by the International Standardization Organization. Certification to this standard demonstrates that a food safety management system has been implemented and is operating effectively in an organization.

Additionally, the FSSC 22000 (Food Safety System Certification) scheme is a GFSI-recognized certification scheme for food manufacturing organizations around the world. It was developed specifically for manufacturers of food products, ingredients, and packaging materials to provide a consistent approach to auditing the food supply chain.

To be certified to FSSC 22000, an organization must demonstrate compliance with all of the requirements of ISO 22000, as well as additional requirements relating to prerequisite programs (PRPs) and control of food safety hazards through prerequisite programs (PRPs) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point).

Some of the benefits of FSSC 22000 compared to ISO 22000:2005 include:

  • One document instead of two
  • An audit that covers all requirements;
  • Clear explanation about what to do for preventive control in order to comply with legal requirements;
  • Clear explanation about management responsibility;
  • Less need for complex interpretations and less space for different audit approaches;
  • More flexibility for application by small companies;
  • Alignment between food manufacturing companies and food packaging manufacturers.

Key Takeaway

The FSSC 22000 certification scheme has been designed to be compatible with ISO 9001, the quality management system standard, and ISO 14001, the environmental management system standard.