Often times, while purchasing any consumer good that is new to the market or new to us, we tend to hesitate. This doubt comes from our natural tendency to assure safety for ourselves and family members. Those who are generally concerned about the quality of the consumables and their impact or reaction in human bodies generally opt to look for a product review from their peers. On this regard, responsible food manufacturers also contribute to the process through following a few regulatory criteria, i.e.: providing the manufacturing date, expiry date, batch no., list of ingredients, age restrictions, apt packaging etc. Another very substantial information that helps consumers or buyers to recognize the merit of any item is the ISO certification.
The International Organization for Standardization, aka ISO, is an independent body that functions across the world with the core objective to establish standard scales that justify the quality, safety, efficiency and other such traits of products, services and systems. Since its inception in 1946, the organization free of governmental or authoritarian control has been bringing together industry experts and professionals from various fields to develop voluntary, consensus-based and market relevant standards. The ISO standards help to maintain market balance through ensuring equilibrium of quality and demand, while encouraging brands to become more innovative and considerate.
Till the day, ISO has over 24000 benchmarks held for the standardization of manufacturing in the fields of technical, industrial and commercial operations. The process of evaluation takes place under varying criteria depending on the system or the service, hence various certification labels like–
ISO 9001- for recognizing management systems and quality control
ISO 14001- for reflecting on organizations’ environmental policies and sustainability approach
ISO 50001- for assessing energy management policies and carbon-footprint reduction
and others are obtained as distinct indicators that prove whether the concerned organization is at par with the global standards or not.
Among these standards is the ISO 22000, which shapes the requirements for an ideal food safety management system (FSMS).
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent body that aims to ensure the quality, safety, efficiency and other traits of products, services and systems.
ISO 22000 focuses on the requirements for a proper food safety management system and outlines the requirements for organizations to prove their caliber of monitoring and implementing necessary actions that guarantee the food items as safe for consumption.
According to ISO’s own statements, the ISO 22000 aims to bring a global-level harmony for food safety management for organizations within the food chain and safeguards a fair competition in the sector under relevant state laws. This means organizations cannot bypass the statutory and regulatory requirements while under the oath to abide by ISO 22000 and has to certify total compliance through own food management systems.
The standard was initially set back in 2005 (referred to as ISO 22000:2005), which received a major revision more than a decade later, in 2018 (referred to as ISO 22000:2018, the current benchmark). Under ISO 22000, all stakeholders involved in the food chain, remain responsible for the demonstration to comply with rules and regulations that protects the market integrity in terms of quality. It also contributes to the evaluation of the mutually agreed safety requirements and assesses the conformity of the parties involved. A level-playing field for all is thus secured, giving authentication to food safety management systems.
When a service or product freshly enters the market, it has to face the layer of gaining consumer trust and validation by default. ISO 22000 for FSMS helps to shorten this layer and help manufacturers attain compliance with the regulators relatively faster. On the customer end, it helps to compare with other available products under similar type and pricing catalogue, and ultimately become a first-choice for a certain target group. It engages companies to check the safety and security issue at all stages of a food production, which means the staff, methods and machineries are also brought under stricter supervision, when the ISO 22000 filter is applied.
As it implies, the ISO 22000:2018 has been revised for necessary adjustments and additions only four years back. Due to this revision, contemporary buyers and regulatory bodies are at a better state of ease regarding the food safety management system. On top of that, additional guidelines and reports have been published by ISO for providing further clarification on the interpretation, operations and improvement of ISO 22000. Such accommodation eventually helps the organizations relevant to the FSMS processes to maintain a smooth upstream and downstream of communications, so there is never any food hazard – from the farms to the tables.
From a broader perspective, ISO 22000:2018 plays an essential role in supporting the UN SDG Goal 12 – responsible consumption and production. When all security parameters are met and health safety is guaranteed, the global economy becomes the beneficiary of risk-free consumption opportunities. This way ISO 22000 enables the common people to play their part in securing a sustainable food management system, and thus, secure the SDG objective.
Overall, awareness regarding ISO 22000empowersboth customers and sellers to validate the standardization status of any food and make decisions accordingly for a healthy living. As our dietary and other lifestyle habits transform with time for better, it is imperative that we understand the ISO 22000 and other ISO standard specifications.
References:https://www.iso.org/iso-22000-food-safety-management.html https://committee.iso.org/home/tc34sc17 https://www.iso.org/news/ref2639.html https://www.iso.org/standard/65464.html https://www.iso.org/about-us.html https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-consumption-production/ https://www.nqa.com/en-gb/certification/sectors/engineering-manufacturing https://dqslebanon.com/need-to-understand-iso-220002018-here-are-the-key-details-you-need-to-know/#:~:text=ISO%2022000%3A2018%2C%20Food%20safety,food%20is%20safe%20for%20consumption
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