Preventing, reducing or eliminating food safety hazards is essential to maintaining a hygienic environment throughout the food chain; this gave way to ISO 22000 the international standard for food safety. The current version came into force in 2005 and therefore it needs modification to bring it up to date with today’s new food requirements. The new version of ISO 22000 is currently at Committee Draft (Stage) and the international working group ISO/TC 34/SC 17/WG8 met for the 4th time in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the 4th April 2016.
The agenda in Buenos Aires was to work through the various comments (1,000 in total) and incorporate them into the document. Simultaneously Working Group 8 clarified key concepts of the draft standard. These include:
- Configuring the new version of ISO 22000 to ISO’s new high-level structure Annex SL. It is now mandatory when drafting or revising management system standards (MSS) to use Annex SL. This makes it easier for businesses to integrate more than one MMS at any given time.
- Distinguishing between the different risk-based approaches. These comprise of the following:
- The hazard assessment at the operational level, through the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).
- The business risk where opportunities also form part of the risk.
- Giving further clarification on the PDCA Cycle. There will by two separate PDCA cycles in the standard that operate inside the other. The first will apply to the management system while the second, within it, addresses the operations described in Clause 8 to simultaneously cover the HACCP principles defined by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
- Clearly describing the differences between Critical Control Points (CCPs), Operational Prerequisite Programmes (OPRPs) and Prerequisite Programmes (PRPs).
The revised standard will incorporate recognised key elements to ensure food safety at every step of the food chain, right up to the point of consumption, including:
- Interactive communication along the food chain
- A systematic approach to management
- Prerequisite programmes
- HACCP principles
An introduction of a food safety hazard can occur at any stage in the food chain supply and it’s essential to have adequate controls in place at every step along the way. Good communication in the food chain supply is paramount to ensuring that food hazards are identified and managed at the proper operational level. These controls will help to prevent such threats as those highlighted in the image below:
The experts gathered in Buenos Aires decided that a second Committee Draft (CD2) will be necessary in order to create a more mature working document. Due to major interests of key players in the global food chain a consensus is yet to be reached.
The next task of WG8 is to clarify and communicate the fundamental concepts of the revised standard in the simplest and most concise terms in order to produce a standard that is both understandable and easy to implement. The next milestone for ISO/TC 34/SC 17/WG8 is to go through the second draft of comments with international stakeholders. They are due to meet again in Copenhagen on 14th – 16th June 2016.