ISO 22000 Certification : For food safety

Food safety is a major issue for the food industry, requiring international standards to guarantee the quality of products. The ISO 22000 standard establishes criteria for a food safety management system, accessible to all actors in the food chain. This overview of ISO 22000 will provide information on its benefits, the certification process as well as distinctions from other food safety standards.

What is ISO 22000 certification ?

ISO 22000 certification is an official recognition that attests to a company’s compliance with the requirements of ISO 22000 standard. This standard specifies the criteria necessary to establish an effective food safety management system (FSMS). To obtain this food certification, a company must go through an audit carried out by an independent and accredited body, confirming that its food management system meets the required criteria.

Opting for ISO 22000 certification offers various benefits to entities operating in the food chain, including :

  • It demonstrates their commitment to maintaining a high level of food security through their production, processing, distribution, or services.
  • It increases their credibility and strengthens the trust of their customers, suppliers, partners, as well as regulatory authorities.
  • It optimizes their food risk management, contributing to improved performance and efficiency.
  • By meeting consumer expectations and regulatory requirements, it facilitates access to markets, both domestic and international.

Obtaining ISO 22000 certification, although not mandatory, is highly recommended for companies wishing to stand out in a competitive market and enhance their brand image. In addition, this certification is compatible with other management system standards, such as ISO 9001 for quality or ISO 14001 for the environment.

Which organizations offer ISO 22000 certification ?

To receive ISO 22000 certification, it is necessary to contact a certification body. It is an independent entity, accredited to assess whether a company’s food safety management system (FSMS) meets the required standards. Several of these organizations can award ISO 22000 certification. Examples include:

NQA

NQA is internationally recognized for its certification, training and consulting services, particularly in food safety. Accredited by the UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) and COFRAC (French Accreditation Committee), NQA guides companies through the certification process by providing them with tools, guides and audits specifically tailored to their needs. Thanks to its global network of qualified auditors, NQA is able to intervene in various business sectors and languages.

AG5

Specialized in management systems, AG5 offers customized and innovative solutions to improve the performance and competitiveness of companies. Accredited by the ANAB (ANSI National Accreditation Board), AG5 accompanies companies from the needs analysis to the preparation and execution of the audit, until the follow-up of the corrective actions and the issuance of the certificate. Its team is composed of recognized and competent experts and auditors, able to intervene in various fields and countries.

SafetyCulture

Focused on safety and quality in high-risk sectors such as food, health, construction or transport, SafetyCulture is accredited by the IAS (International Accreditation Service) for ISO 22000 certification. The company takes a simplified approach, using a mobile app to perform audits, inspections and reports in real time.

It provides companies with audit templates, checklists and guidance to meet ISO 22000 certification standards. With a community of over 28,000 certified auditors in more than 85 countries, SafetyCulture is a valuable resource.

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

ISO 22000 certification is intended for all actors in the food chain, regardless of product, size or type of activity. However, specific requirements may vary from sector to sector. These requirements are specified in complementary documents, the Operational Prerequisite Programs (OPP).

OPPs are guides that define health and safety practices to be observed throughout food production, processing, storage, transport and distribution processes. PPOs are developed by renowned technical entities, such as ISO, Codex Alimentarius or the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative). Examples of frequently used PPOs include :

OPP for Agriculture

This OPP is for basic farming operations such as farming, ranching, fishing or hunting. It covers the protection of water, soil and air quality, as well as the management of inputs, animals and products from both vegetation and animals. It also addresses the prevention of biological, chemical or physical contamination. References for this OPP include ISO/TS 22002-1 or PAS 222.

OPP for the food industry

This OPP applies to food processing, manufacturing, packaging or packaging processes. It covers areas such as design and maintenance of facilities, maintenance of equipment, utensils, packaging, as well as control of operations, processes, allergens, foreign bodies, cleaning, disinfection, waste, pest and personnel management. It is based on ISO/TS 22002-1 or PAS 223.

OPP for Distribution

This OPP deals with food storage, transportation, distribution or retail operations. It encompasses the management of the cold and hot chain, moisture, light, ventilation, traceability, inventory rotation, labelling, presentation, handling and service. It is based on ISO/TS 22002-5 or PAS 221. To be ISO 22000 certified, it is necessary to comply not only with the requirements of ISO 22000 standard but also with those of the sector-specific PPO. This approach ensures a high level of food safety at every stage of the food chain.

What are the steps to obtain ISO 22000 certification ?

Achieving ISO 22000 certification requires a well-defined process, which is broken down into several key steps :

Step 1 : Develop and implement a food safety management system

This first phase involves defining the scope, context, objectives and responsibilities of the food safety management system (FSMS), based on the requirements of the ISO 22000 standard and the Mandatory Precautionary Principles (PPO) sector-specific. Hazard and risk analysis is essential, as is the definition of control measures, procedures, records and indicators to ensure food safety.

Step 2 : Conduct an Internal Audit

During this stage, it is crucial to assess the compliance and effectiveness of the SDAMS by verifying its operation, performance and results. This includes the identification of deviations, non-conformities and opportunities for improvement, as well as the implementation of appropriate corrective and preventive actions.

Step 3 : Engage a Certification Body

This step involves selecting an accredited and recognized certification body to conduct the external audit of the SDAMS. Provide all necessary information regarding the SDAMS, such as scope, context, objectives, processes, documentation and records.

Step 4 : Conduct an External Audit

Welcome auditors from the certification body for the assessment of SDAMS compliance with ISO 22000 sandard and OPP requirements. The external audit is conducted in two phases: a first phase to review the documentation and planning of the SDAMS, and a second phase to verify the effectiveness of the SDAMS in the field. Following the external audit, an audit report is issued, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, gaps, non-conformities and recommendations.

Step 5 : Obtain ISO 22000 certification

Obtaining ISO 22000 certification means that your Food Safety Management System (FSMS) meets the criteria defined by ISO 22000 standard and the Operational Prerequisite Plan (OPP). This certification is awarded for a period of three years. To maintain it, it is essential to maintain and regularly improve your SDAMS, in addition to subjecting your system to annual audits by the certifying entity.

How much does an ISO 22000 certification cost ?

The price of obtaining ISO 22000 certification varies according to different criteria :

  • The size and complexity of the entity to be certified
  • The field of activity and the Operational Preventive Plan (OPP) in force
  • The degree of development of the food safety management system
  • The selection of the certification body and its tariffs
  • The costs related to the travel and accommodation of the auditors
  • Potential corrective actions to be taken after the audit

There is no fixed price for the acquisition of ISO 22000 certification. Nevertheless, it is possible to request custom quotes from the certification bodies, which will estimate the time and resources required for the audit. In general, the cost of ISO 22000 certification is divided into two main parts :

  • The cost of the initial audit, covering phases 1 and 2, which varies according to the duration and number of auditors required
  • The costs of the annual follow-up audits, which are essential to maintain certification, and which are generally less expensive than the initial audit

According to various sources, the annual cost of an ISO 22000 certification ranges from 3,000 to 5,000 euros for a medium-sized company. This amount can increase for large companies or companies with multiple sites. It is also important to consider the internal expenses associated with the implementation and improvement of the food safety management system, which may include costs for training, documentation, equipment, personnel, etc.

Investing in ISO 22000 certification represents a financial cost as well as a strategic commitment that can generate long-term benefits, such as improved product quality and safety, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty, streamlining processes, reducing expenses, distinguishing from competition, and opening up to new markets.

How long does it take to obtain ISO 22000 certification ?

Acquiring an ISO 22000 certification varies in time according to several essential criteria, namely :

  • The current condition of the food safety management system (FMS) of the entity seeking certification
  • The time allocated to the development and application of the SGSA
  • The choice and availability of the certification body
  • The conduct and conclusions of the external audit
  • The implementation of post-audit corrective actions if necessary

It is difficult to define an exact time for obtaining ISO 22000 certification, but it can usually be estimated according to the process steps. Typically, the journey is divided into two major phases :

  • The preparation phase, which includes the development and implementation of the SGSA and the conduct of the internal audit. This phase can be from 6 to 12 months, depending on the size and complexity of the organization, the degree of progress of the SGSA, the resources available, etc.
  • The external audit phase, including the first and second phase, the issuance of the certificate, and the application of corrective actions. This period can range from 3 to 6 months, depending on the selection and availability of the certification body, the progress and results of the audit, the discrepancies and non-conformities found, etc.

The total process of obtaining ISO 22000 certification can range from 9 to 18 months. It is advisable to plan the certification project well in advance, gather the required resources, select an appropriate certification body, and follow the advice of the auditor to optimize the process and speed up deadlines.

Is there a need to renew the ISO 22000 certification ?

The ISO 22000 certification, crucial for the food safety management system (SMSDA), requires regular updating. This periodic review ensures the continuous adaptation of the SDAMS to ISO 22000 standards and to sector-specific Pre-established Operating Practices (PPO). This renewal process is structured around two main axes :

  • Certificate renewal : Essential every three years, this element requires a renewal audit conducted by the certification body. This in-depth review verifies the effectiveness and ongoing relevance of the SDAMS, taking into account improvements made since the last audits, customer feedback, as well as any internal or external changes.
  • Certificate maintenance : Annual monitoring audits are required between renewal audits. Carried out by the certification body, they ensure that the SDAMS operates optimally, in perfect alignment with the criteria of ISO 22000 and the PPOs, without major drift or non-compliance.

Maintaining ISO 22000 certification therefore requires a proactive approach from the certified organization to strengthen and improve its food safety system. In addition, the renewal process integrates the latest developments of the ISO 22000 standard, regularly updated to meet market expectations. For example, the 2018 edition of ISO 22000 brought important changes, such as integrating the context of the organization, a risk-based approach and interactive communication.

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

The ISO 22000 standard serves as a guide for setting up a food safety management system (FSMS), applicable to all organisations involved in the food chain. Established by the independent, non-governmental International Organization for Standardization (ISO), this standard clearly defines the requirements for food safety.

At the other end, ISO 22000 certification symbolizes official recognition that the organization meets the criteria specified in ISO 22000 standard. This certification is granted by an independent and accredited third-party certification body. Although it is optional, it may be necessary at the request of certain business partners, suppliers, customers, or regulatory bodies.

This certification is valid for three years and requires annual monitoring audits as well as a renewal audit at the end.

The fundamental distinction between ISO 22000 certification and ISO 22000 standard is based on the following points :

  • Where the ISO 22000 standard details the requirements for an SDAMS, the ISO 22000 certification confirms that these requirements are indeed met.
  • While ISO is responsible for the development of ISO 22000 standard, it is an independent certification body that declares whether the organization meets these requirements through ISO 22000 certification.
  • While the acquisition of ISO 22000 standard requires a purchase, obtaining ISO 22000 certification generates costs related to an external audit.
  • ISO 22000 standard is applicable to any organization, while ISO 22000 certification is a voluntary process, which may be made mandatory by certain stakeholders.
  • While ISO 22000 standard is subject to periodic updates, ISO 22000 certification has a limited validity period, requiring regular renewal.

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

While ISO 22000 certification and FSSC 22000 certification both target food safety according to ISO 22000 standard, there are notable differences between these two standards :

The scope of application

ISO 22000 certification is open to all organizations in the food chain, regardless of product, size or type of activity. Conversely, the FSSC 22000 certification focuses exclusively on organizations involved in food production, processing, manufacturing, packaging, packaging, as well as catering and transportation services. It excludes primary agriculture and distribution or retail activities.

Additional requirements

Built on the ISO 22000 standard, ISO 22000 certification focuses on the requirements of this standard for a food safety management system (SMSDA). The FSSC 22000 certification is also based on the ISO 22000 standard, enriched however by additional requirements grouped in what are called Operational Prerequisite Programs (OPP).  

These programmes detail best practices to ensure food safety at all stages of production and distribution, including specific rules for the prevention of food fraud, protection against food-related risks, allergen identification and more.

International recognition

While the ISO (International Organization for Standardization), a non-governmental and independent entity, grants international recognition to the ISO 22000 certification, the FSSC 22000 certification benefits from the recognition of the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative), a private consortium bringing together the world’s food industry heavyweights.

This GFSI membership gives FSSC 22000 certification increased acceptance and credibility with customers, suppliers, partners and regulators.

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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