Access to safe and affordable food is a critical concern for all individuals, and it’s vital that consumers have trust in the food that they purchase, as well as the food-based businesses that they support. Food safety is therefore a key priority for all organisations involved in the processes related to the production, treatment, storage and sales of food and food products. Due to increased consumerism and changing legislation, food standards are now, more than ever, placed in the spotlight. Here is a quick overview of some of the latest advancements and changes in this sector.
GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) recently published a position paper entitled “A Culture of Food Safety” as a blueprint for maintaining and embedding a positive culture of food safety in any business. This paper highlighted three main ways to ensure shared values, beliefs and norms; affect the mindset and behaviour of people; and defining food safety expectations across and throughout the organization:
- The essential role of the Executives within an organization (a point that also plays a significant role in the revision of ISO 9001: 2015 and other management system standards)
- Factors such as communication, education, cooperation and personal responsibility
- Skills such as adaptability or risk awareness to translate food safety practices from theory to practice
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In early August 2019, BRCGS (a brand and consumer protection organisation used by over 29,000 certificated suppliers over 130 countries) launched the Global Standard for Packaging Materials issue 6. This new issue dictates 6 important changes:
- Removing the second hygiene category, which is now replaced by a risk-based approach based on only one set of requirements
- Removing the option to perform a second or split unannounced audit. Full announced audits are required, and full unannounced audits remain optional.
- Corrective and preventative action requirements are now integrated into a structured continuous improvement approach (a fundamental clause of the standard)
- Emphasis on product quality, in addition to product safety
- Setting up, executing and reviewing an action plan to improve a Product safety and quality culture
- Pellet, flake and powder control in the plastic industry
Version 5 of FSSC 22000 (Foundation Food Safety System Certification 22000) was published in June 2019. This revision was largely due to the publication of the standard ISO 22000:2018, which is used as the basis for the GFSI-benchmarked certification scheme. The FSSC 22000 scheme incorporates the requirements of ISO 22000:2018, as well as additional requirements for integrated processes that work together to control and minimise food safety hazards.
The first international standard for sustainable and traceable cocoa was recently published: the ISO 34101 series of standards. This standard series aims to encourage the professionalisation of cocoa farming, thereby contributing to farmer livelihoods and better working conditions. The series covers all aspects, including organisational, economic, social and environmental.
Recent food-related incidents in South Africa have brought the issue of food safety to the forefront of consumer and organisational awareness, and organisations must remain aware of developments in food safety. For organisations involved in the food sector, it’s critical that they engage with certification bodies in order to promote best practices.
DQS is committed to sharing up to date, relevant news. For more information about food safety standards or the certification process, please contact DQS. DQS South Africa is your local business solutions partner, offering solutions that work for your sector. We form part of an international network dedicated to ensuring compliance and business conformity. For any questions about our services or to contact us, please visit dqs.co.za.