FSSC 22000 Standard : Food Safety System Certification

Food safety is paramount in the food industry to ensure product quality and meet consumer standards and expectations. The internationally recognized FSSC 22000 standard offers a comprehensive approach covering all stages of the food chain, from production to distribution. This overview of the FSSC 22000 explains its importance, its specificities and the procedure to obtain this essential certification for your company.

What is FSSC 22000 Standard ?

Among food certifications, FSSC 22000 standard for Food Safety System Certification 22000, an international certification standard designed specifically for the food industry. Developed by the FSSC Foundation, this standard is based on the ISO 22000 standard and follows specific guidelines regarding quality, safety and processes in this sector.

The creation of the FSSC 22000 benefited from the close collaboration between experts in the field, certification bodies and other key players, with a foundation on the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) system.

It includes not only criteria related to the Prerequisite Programs (PRP) adapted to each sector of activity but also additional requirements covering food safety, allergen management, the fight against food fraud, food safety, minimizing waste and loss, and environmental responsibility.

Applicable to the entire food chain (primary production, processing, packaging, storage, transport, distribution and retail), the standard also includes ancillary activities such as the production of packaging, additives, ingredients, cleaning and disinfection products and transportation equipment.

It aligns with other management standards such as ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety), enabling integrated audits and better resource allocation.

Recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a global entity working to unify food safety standards, FSSC 22000 standard is also advocated by many international distributors and customers who require this certification in their supply chain. By adopting this standard, organizations strengthen their performance, competitiveness and reputation in the market.

Why adopt the FSSC 22000 standard ?

The FSSC 22000 standard, although not mandatory, offers multiple benefits for companies wishing to improve their food safety management and stand out in the industry. Here are several reasons to adopt this standard :

Improving food security risk management

  • It helps identify, assess and control hazards that can compromise food safety throughout the production chain.
  • It facilitates the implementation of preventive measures based on HACCP principles to minimize or eliminate the risk of contamination, tampering or fraud.
  • It encourages regular monitoring of the effectiveness of corrective and preventive measures and internal and external audits to ensure system compliance.

Building trust among partners

  • It demonstrates a serious commitment to food safety, complying with the legal and regulatory requirements of the sector.
  • It offers international recognition through certification by an accredited entity according to a standard approved by the GFSI.
  • It meets the growing expectations of customers and distributors in terms of quality and product traceability.

Optimization of performance and competitiveness

  • It improves communication and collaboration within the food production chain, promoting cohesive and comprehensive food security.
  • It helps reduce costs associated with non-conformities, product recalls, customer complaints or regulatory sanctions.
  • It promotes your company’s brand image as a committed player for food safety, customer satisfaction and sustainable development.

What are the benefits of implementing a FSSC 22000 standard compliant system ?

Adopting a system that complies with the FSSC 22000 standard offers multiple benefits to food industry players, whether they are suppliers, manufacturers, or distributors. These benefits include improved health risk management, increased stakeholder trust, and improved performance and competitiveness.

Improved control of food safety risks

The adoption of the FSSC 22000 standard makes it possible to increase control over health risks through a preventive and structured approach. This method includes :

  • The identification, evaluation and control of potential hazards at each stage of the food chain thanks to the HACCP system (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points).
  • The implementation of preventive measures adapted to each field of activity, defined by the prerequisite programs (PRP), establishing the essential conditions for food safety and hygiene.
  • Monitoring and validating the effectiveness of preventive and corrective actions, as well as conducting internal and external audits to verify compliance with the food safety management system.
  • This improvement in risk control reduces the likelihood of contamination, tampering or fraud, thus ensuring the quality and safety of products for the consumer.

Increased stakeholder confidence

Compliance with the FSSC 22000 standard builds stakeholder trust, demonstrating a company’s commitment to food safety, regulatory compliance and international recognition. This is manifested by:

  • Adherence to the legal and regulatory requirements embedded in the standard, aimed at protecting consumer health and the integrity of business practices.
  • Obtaining FSSC 22000 certification by an accredited and independent entity, attesting to compliance with the food safety management system.
  • Recognition of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), an initiative to standardize food safety standards and build consumer confidence, which endorses the FSSC 22000 standard.
  • The satisfaction of the quality and traceability requirements of customers and distributors, highlighting the contribution of the FSSC 22000 certification.
  • This increase in trust improves reputation and credibility, thus promoting the loyalty of partners and consumers.

Optimization of the performance and competitiveness of the organization

Alignment with the FSSC 22000 standard helps companies improve their efficiency and competitiveness through better communication and collaboration within the supply chain, cost reduction through the prevention ofconformity, and branding. These improvements include:

  • Increased communication and collaboration, facilitated by a comprehensive and integrated approach to food safety, compatible with other management standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 or ISO 45001.
  • Reduce costs and losses by preventing the risk of non-compliance, product recalls, customer complaints, or regulatory sanctions.
  • A strengthening of the brand image, positioning itself as a responsible and committed actor for food safety, consumer satisfaction and sustainable development.
  • This enhancement of performance and competition increases efficiency and profitability, thus making it possible to distinguish itself on the market.

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

The FSSC 22000 standard defines the criteria for a food safety management system, incorporating ISO 22000, sector-specific prerequisite programmes and additional conditions established by the FSSC Foundation. FSSC 22000 certification is a validation that these criteria are met, awarded by an accredited and neutral certification body. The distinction between the standard and certification lies in the process of obtaining and the benefits of the latter.

The FSSC 22000 certification process

The following are the key steps to obtain FSSC 22000 certification :

  • Comply with the requirements of the FSSC 22000 standard by establishing an efficient food safety management system, adapted to the specificities of the organization.
  • Opt for a certification body recognized by the FSSC Foundation and accredited by an entity member of the MLA of the IAF (International Accreditation Forum) specialized in FSSC 22000.
  • Conduct an initial audit in two phases: a review of documentation followed by an on-site evaluation. The objective is to verify the compliance of the food safety management system with the FSSC 22000 standards.
  • If the audit is successful, the organization receives a FSSC 22000 certificate valid for three years, provided it maintains its management system and undergoes annual monitoring audits.
  • Conduct a renewal audit prior to certificate expiry to confirm continued compliance with FSSC 22000 standards and criteria updates.

The benefits of FSSC 22000 certification

The benefits of holding a FSSC 22000 certification go beyond those offered by the standard alone, including :

  • It demonstrates compliance with FSSC 22000 through the neutral and professional evaluation of a certification body.
  • It ensures international recognition by aligning with a standard endorsed by the Global Food Security Initiative (GFSI), promoting the harmonization of food safety practices and consumer confidence.
  • It meets the demands of international distributors and customers, who often require FSSC 22000 certification or another GFSI-approved standard from their suppliers.
  • It encourages continuous improvement through regular audits, helping to identify strengths and weaknesses of the food safety management system to implement adequate corrective and preventive measures.

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

FSSC 22000 and ISO 22000 are international standards designed to manage food safety. ISO 22000 is an independent standard establishing the fundamental criteria for a food safety management system, suitable for any organization in the food chain. At the same time, FSSC 22000 builds on ISO 22000 by incorporating more sector-specific requirements, in addition to additional criteria defined by the FSSC Foundation.

The main distinction between the two lies in the degree of accuracy and increased recognition of the FSSC 22000, as we will see in more detail below.

The level of detail of FSSC 22000 standard

Unlike the generic approach of ISO 22000, which merely refers to Prerequisite Programmes (PRPs) for risk management without providing specific details, the FSSC 22000 goes further. It identifies the PRPs appropriate for each sector, based on technical standards (ISO/TS) or public specifications (BSI PAS) to describe the practices and controls to be implemented.

This makes the FSSC 22000 significantly more detailed and aligned with the specific needs of each business area.

The recognition level of the FSSC 22000 standard

ISO 22000, despite its international reach and acceptance in many countries, is not recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). This limits its impact compared to the FSSC 22000, which benefits from this GFSI recognition. This label gives the FSSC 22000 a significant added value on the international market, especially with distributors and customers requiring certifications recognized by the GFSI. Thus, the FSSC 22000 has a major competitive advantage over the ISO 22000.

Why is FSSC 22000 standard considered a strategic tool for organizations ?

FSSC 22000 transcends the concept of food security, positioning itself as a strategic vehicle for organizations to establish themselves as leaders in their field. It directly addresses the current and future challenges of the agri-food chain, grouped into three broad categories: regulation, competition and social responsibility.

The regulations

Faced with increasingly stringent and complex regulatory requirements, both nationally and internationally, organizations are seeking to harmonize and simplify their food safety management. The FSSC 22000 framework, by integrating the legal obligations specific to each sector, facilitates this approach. In addition, its certification, recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), promises international acceptance, strengthening consumer confidence by ensuring excellence and consistency in food safety practices across the globe.

The competition

In a constantly evolving food market, characterized by the emergence of new players, technologies and customer expectations, standing out becomes crucial. The FSSC 22000 standard is a competitive lever, allowing companies to refine their food risk management, reduce the costs associated with non-compliances and improve their image. This standard is also a guarantee of quality and traceability for customers and distributors, thus meeting their growing requirements.

Social responsibility

Companies' commitment to society and the environment has never been more crucial. In a context of sustainable development, food security and public health, organizations are called upon to play a proactive role. The FSSC 22000 supports this commitment by integrating additional criteria around the culture of food safety, the fight against fraud, food defence and respect for the environment.

It is also part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aimed at sustainable agriculture, reducing food waste, and improving food security and overall nutrition.

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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