FSSC 22000 Certification : Food Safety System Certification

Ensuring the quality and safety of food products is essential for industry professionals who meet regulatory standards and consumer expectations. The FSSC 22000, recognized by the GFSI, offers an international standard based on ISO 22000, adapted to the specific needs of the food industry. Discover the benefits and importance of the FSSC 22000 for food safety.

What is FSSC 22000 Food Safety System Certification ?

The FSSC 22000 certification represents an international standard based on the ISO 22000 standard. It establishes the essential criteria for designing, implementing, maintaining and continuously improving a food safety management system, anchored in the HACCP principles (hazard analysis - critical control points) and a process approach.

However, ISO 22000 standard alone cannot cover all the expectations of customers and participants in the food chain. Therefore, the FSSC 22000 certification enriches these requirements with industry-specific conditions, explained in prerequisite programs (PRP).

These technical documents detail the essential practices to be adopted to guarantee hygiene, cleanliness and prevent contamination of foodstuffs, adapted to the specific context of each company (production, processing, packaging, etc.).

In addition, the certification introduces complementary criteria unique to the FSSC 22000 model, dealing with diverse topics such as food safety culture, food fraud defense, management of external service providers, effective communication with regulatory authorities, crisis management and the certification process itself.

Recognized by the Global Food Security Initiative (GFSI) that brings together leaders in the agri-food industry, FSSC 22000 certification is a food certification provided by a body that assesses the conformity of the various certification schemes to its quality and reliability requirements. Thus, obtaining FSSC 22000 certification allows food companies to demonstrate their deep commitment to food safety to their customers, suppliers, partners and regulators.

Which organizations offer FSSC 22000 certification ?

The FSSC 22000 certification is an international certification framework overseen by the FSSC Foundation, a Dutch non-profit entity. This foundation ensures the development, maintenance and improvement of this certification scheme, in addition to ensuring its integrity and worldwide recognition.

Food companies wishing to obtain this certification must use a certification body (CB) accredited and licensed by the FSSC Foundation. To date, 134 CBs worldwide have the authority to issue FSSC 22000 certification. They are regularly evaluated and monitored by accreditation bodies, members of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), in accordance with ISO/IEC 17011 and ISO/TS 22003 standards.

Companies must choose a reliable, impartial CB with auditors who are experts in their specific field of activity. These CBs usually provide diversified services such as coaching, training, auditing, and certification, tailored to the specific needs of companies. They also adhere to the requirements and regulations of the FSSC 22000 scheme, as well as the decisions of the Stakeholder Council of the FSSC Foundation.

How to choose a FSSC 22000 certification body ?

To select an OC for your FSSC 22000 certification, follow these recommendations :

  • Consult the Quality Public Register (QPR) of the FSSC Foundation which lists all authorized CBs and certified companies.
  • Review the CB’s scope of accreditation to verify its competency in your industry and country.
  • Compare offers and rates considering quality, reliability, flexibility, and proximity.
  • Look for references or testimonials from other companies collaborating with the CB to assess its reputation and professionalism.
  • Contact the CB directly to receive a personalized quote and discuss an audit plan tailored to your needs.
  • Or ask Yvea to accompany you by proposing its partners.

What are the specific requirements of the FSSC 22000 certification for my industry ?

The FSSC 22000 certification covers a variety of sectors within the food chain, each classified into categories according to its type of products, services or activities. For each category, specific requirements in terms of prerequisite programs (PRP) must be observed, in addition to those stipulated by the ISO 22000 standard and the complements of the FSSC 22000 scheme.

PRPs play a crucial role in ensuring rigorous hygiene practices and preventing contamination of food, feed or food packaging.

Food chain categories and specific requirements

Here is an overview of the different categories of the food chain and their specific requirements :

  • Category A : Animal Husbandry
  • Category C : Food Manufacturing
  • Category D : Animal Feed Production
  • Category E : Catering
  • Category F : Wholesale and Retail
  • Category G : Transportation and Storage  
  • Category I : Production of food packaging and packaging materials
  • Category K : Production of (bio)chemical products

How do I know the specific requirements for my industry ?

To identify the specific requirements for your sector, it is advisable to consult the technical documents related to PRPs for each category, available on the FSSC Foundation or ISO website. An alternative approach is to contact an organization offering FSSC 22000 certification. The latter will be able to guide you and assist you in the implementation of PRPs adapted to your situation.  

Yvea, as a partner of the FSSC Foundation, offers you advantageous conditions for obtaining the FSSC 22000 certification. Contact us for more information.

What are the steps to obtain FSSC 22000 certification ?

Obtaining the FSSC 22000 certification requires serious commitment and careful preparation by the company’s management and team. To successfully achieve this certification, it is essential to follow these key steps :

Step 1 : Gap Analysis

This first step is to compare the company’s current food safety management system to ISO 22000 standards, the appropriate Prerequisite Programs (PRP), and the additional criteria required by FSSC 22000. Performing a gap analysis helps to identify both the strengths and weaknesses of the system, as well as the necessary corrective actions. While this can be done internally, using an external consultant is also an option.

Step 2 : System Implementation

The second step focuses on the application of the actions identified during the gap analysis to improve the food security management system. It includes the implementation of policies, objectives, responsibilities, procedures, documentation, training and audit programs, as well as the initiation of communication and continuous improvement processes. It is necessary to document this implementation and ensure that it is well communicated across all levels of the organization.

Step 3 : Internal Audit

The purpose of the internal audit is to examine the effectiveness and compliance of the food safety management system with the requirements of ISO 22000, the applicable PRPs and the additional requirements of FSSC 22000. This audit must be carried out by qualified and independent auditors. Their evaluation results in an audit report and, if necessary, in the identification of non-conformities that must be addressed in a corrective action plan followed by a management review.

Step 4 : Certification Audit

The certification audit is carried out by a certification body accredited by the FSSC Foundation. It is divided into two phases: an evaluation of the documents to verify the conformity of the system documentation, followed by an on-site audit to assess the application and effectiveness of the system. The process results in a final audit report and certification decision.

Step 5 : Maintain Certification

To maintain certification, a company must constantly monitor and improve its food safety management system. This includes staying abreast of legislative, normative, technological changes and meeting customer expectations. Maintaining certification requires annual oversight audits by the certification body, as well as a renewal audit every three years.

It is also essential to follow the guidelines of the FSSC 22000 scheme, covering communication, notification, change management and complaint handling.

How much does a FSSC 22000 certification cost ?

The price to obtain the FSSC 22000 certification varies according to many criteria: the size and sector of your company, the number of sites to certify, their complexity, the chosen certification body and the time required for audits. Since the tariffs are not standardized, here is an approximation of the costs according to different aspects :

  • The cost of the annual licence, collected by the FSSC Foundation and transmitted to the company by the certification body. This amount fluctuates according to the number of sites and the turnover of the company, ranging from 100 to 1000 euros per site annually.
  • The cost of the certification audit, billed directly to the company by the certification body. This cost takes into account the number of audit hours, the auditor’s hourly rate, travel costs and VAT, which can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of euros depending on the size and complexity of your business.
  • Fees for monitoring and renewal audits, usually lower than the initial audit but required annually to maintain certification.
  • Expenses related to the implementation of the food safety management system, supported by the company. This includes training, consulting, documentation, equipment acquisition, analysis, corrective actions and continuous improvement. Estimating this cost is difficult because it varies according to the degree of preparation and the specific requirements of the company.

For a tailor-made quote, it is recommended to contact several certification bodies and compare their services in terms of quality, reliability, flexibility and proximity. But if you wish, Yvea is able to support you in the process of your FSSC 22000 certification by offering you its partners. Feel free to contact us for more information.

How long does it take to obtain FSSC 22000 certification ?

Obtaining a FSSC 22000 certification varies according to several criteria: the current state of the company’s food safety management system, the number and complexity of the places to be examined, as well as access to the necessary resources. The time to obtain this certification is not fixed, but here are some key points to help you estimate it :

Preparation time : This phase extends from the decision to continue the certification until the beginning of the audit. It can last from a few months to a few years, depending on initial compliance and the efforts required to improve the food safety management system.

Audit time : It refers to the time required to complete the certification audit by the certification entity. Varies by company size, industry, number of locations, complexity, and type of audit (in-person, remote, or combined). This period can range from a few days to several weeks.

Closing time : Refers to the time between the completion of the audit and the issuance of the FSSC 22000 certificate. This duration is influenced by the number and type of non-conformities found and the speed of implementation of the necessary corrections. According to FSSC 22000 standard, this step must not exceed 28 calendar days after the last day of the audit.

To facilitate and accelerate the process of obtaining FSSC 22000 certification, it is recommended to rely on a certification body offering consulting, training, auditing, and certifications aligned with your company’s needs and objectives. Yvea is here to help you get your FSSC 22000 certification. Please contact us for more information.

Is there a renewal required for the FSSC 22000 certification ?

Maintaining FSSC 22000 certification requires a periodic renewal process essential to its validity and effectiveness. To renew this certification, several key elements must be considered :

  • The annual license update, managed and invoiced by the FSSC Foundation to the certification body. This expense is then transferred to the business. Thanks to this licence, the company is registered in the FSSC Foundation’s public quality register, where all FSSC 22000 certified entities are listed.
  • The completion of a recertification audit by the certification body, which must take place once every three years from the date of obtaining the first certificate. The purpose of this audit is to confirm that the company’s food safety management system still complies with the requirements of ISO 22000, relevant prerequisite programs (PRP), additional requirements of the FSSC 22000 scheme, and the latest developments in the scheme and regulations.
  • The update of the FSSC 22000 certificate, issued by the certification body, confirms the success of the renewal audit by the company. This updated certificate ensures the company’s continued recognition of the FSSC 22000 scheme by the Global Food Security Initiative (GFSI) and by food chain stakeholders.

To facilitate the renewal process of the FSSC 22000 certification, it is recommended to turn to a certification body offering comprehensive support including advice, training, audits and certification services adapted to your needs and ambitions.

What is the difference between FSSC 22000 certification and FSSC 22000 standard ?

It is common to confuse FSSC 22000 certification with FSSC 22000 standard, although these two concepts are distinct but closely related. The main differences are :

The FSSC 22000 certification

The FSSC 22000 certification is an international recognition that food companies meet the requirements of ISO 22000 standard, the Prerequisite Programs (PRP) and the additional requirements of the FSSC 22000 scheme for food safety management. To obtain this certification, the company must pass audits, both documentary and on-site, carried out by a certification body accredited by the FSSC Foundation.

This certification is approved both by the Global Food Security Initiative (GFSI) and by major players in the food chain.

The FSSC 22000 standard

The FSSC 22000 standard is a technical framework defining the rules and requirements necessary for the FSSC 22000 certification scheme. It was drawn up and is constantly updated by the FSSC Foundation in collaboration with the main players in the field. Including certification and accreditation bodies, already certified companies, technical experts and representatives of the agri-food sector. This standard is available free of charge on the FSSC Foundation website.

The relationship between FSSC 22000 certification and FSSC 22000 standard

The correlation between these two elements is as follows :

The FSSC 22000 standard is the foundation for the FSSC 22000 certification process. It sets out the rules and criteria that companies and certification bodies must meet to acquire and maintain FSSC 22000 certification.

Obtaining certification demonstrates a company’s adherence to the FSSC 22000 standard, thereby attesting to the implementation and effective maintenance of a food safety management system that complies with these requirements.

In conclusion, the FSSC 22000 certification is the result of the rigorous application of the FSSC 22000 standard by a company.

What is the difference between FSSC 22000 certification and ISO 22000 certification ?

The FSSC 22000 certification and the ISO 22000 certification represent two international certification approaches to enhance food safety within food companies. Although they have a common foundation, the ISO 22000 standard, which sets out the essential criteria for food safety management systems, they differ markedly from each other.

The FSSC 22000 certification

Specifically targeting producers and manufacturers of animal or plant products, long-lasting products, food ingredients, animal feed, and food packaging, FSSC 22000 certification adopts ISO 22000 standards while integrating specific requirements related to different sectors.

These requirements are described in Prerequisite Programs (PRP) that define the essential preventive measures to maintain hygiene and avoid food contamination. The FSSC 22000 also includes additional criteria relating to food safety culture, methods of defence against food fraud, management of external service providers, communication with authorities, contingency plans and certification process.

Recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), this certification attests to a company’s commitment to achieving the highest food safety standards.

The ISO 22000 certification

ISO 22000 certification is aimed at all entities in the food chain, including producers, processors, distributors, restaurateurs, and even public bodies. Focusing exclusively on the principles of ISO 22000, it focuses on food safety management systems based on hazard analysis (HACCP) and a process approach.

Unlike FSSC 22000, it does not take into account the sector-specific requirements or the additional criteria of FSSC 22000. Although not recognized by GFSI, it follows the guidelines of the Codex Alimentarius, which sets international standards for food safety.

The comparison between FSSC 22000 certification and ISO 22000 certification

The comparison criteria include :

  • Scope : Narrower for FSSC 22000, targeting specific sectors, while ISO 22000 applies to any entity in the food chain.
  • Requirements : More stringent for FSSC 22000, which combines ISO 22000 standards with industry criteria and additional requirements.
  • Recognition : More extensive for the FSSC 22000, thanks to the validation of GFSI and food industry players, while ISO 22000 is mainly recognized by the Codex Alimentarius.

The FSSC 22000 certification is ideal for companies seeking to meet the most stringent and widely recognized food safety standards, while ISO 22000 certification is suitable for organizations that want to meet global and essential food safety criteria.

La procédure classique

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

1

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

2

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

3

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