ISO Certification sets your company apart from those without ISO certification as being compliant with a set of standards set out to be internationally recognized. This means you have an edge over the competition. In this article, we’ll uncover the types of ISO certifications for the food industry and how they apply to the various areas in your business.
ISO 22000 sets out the standards for food safety management systems and is applicable to all businesses within the food industry. Under the umbrella of ISO 22000, ISO 22000:2018 specifies the requirements for a certified food safety management system, with criteria such as:
ISO 22000 is a comprehensive standard that covers a variety of areas and offers businesses numerous benefits, such as improving an allergen management plan via the development of food safety hazard management, enhanced operational planning and control, and continual improvement.
The food safety management system standard is designed to have a broad application and is relevant to all types of institutions throughout the food industry, including food retailers, service providers, and catering companies.
As well as being applicable to a wide range of businesses, ISO 22000:2018 is relevant to companies of all sizes, from small start-ups to global corporations. Due to this, it is seen as an essential certification for businesses operating within the food industry and can have a significant impact on your ability to deliver food-related services to either businesses or consumers.
Whether you’re providing food services, or you require food product certificates, obtaining ISO 22000 can be advantageous for any company operating within the food industry. However, it isn’t the only type of international standard that can deliver benefits to businesses within the food service industry.
As well as obtaining certification in food safety ISO standards, companies may benefit from certifications in other areas too. ISO 27001 enables businesses to exemplify optimal Information and Data Security Management, for example, and ISO 14001 sets out the requirements for implementing and maintaining an effective Environmental Management System (EMS).
If you’re keen to improve workplace safety, ISO 45001 - Occupational Health and Safety Management System – could be beneficial, while ISO 50001 helps you to continually improve your Energy Management Systems (EnMS).
Although there can be some crossover between standards, taking a broad approach can be advantageous, particularly as you grow your business. While operating a high standard of food safety is obviously critical for companies operating within the food industry, improving general business practices, increasing sustainability and/or maintaining a secure IT infrastructure can help to enhance the resilience of your business and facilitate commercial growth.
Once you’ve decided which ISO standards are applicable to your business, you’ll want to know how to go about implementing them and obtaining certification. Remember – ISO standards are designed to reflect exemplary business practices, so achieving certification and ISO registration can be a lengthy process.
Firstly, you’ll need to become aware of the contents of the ISO standard that you want to apply to your business and ensure that you fully understand how it should be implemented. If you’re unsure about how or why to integrate any aspect of the standard, it can be helpful to obtain professional advice and support at an early stage.
Following this, you’ll need to assess your current structure and practices per the standard to determine what changes need to be made to achieve compliance. Then, you’ll be able to implement the necessary changes to improve your operations in accordance with the standard you want to apply for.
At the same time, a stage 1 audit may be carried out to determine the efficacy of the changes as they are being implemented. While an external audit can provide the most benefits, companies often conduct interim internal audits and/or a supplier audit too, so that you can gather the data required to help make effective change management decisions.
Again, it’s important that these preliminary steps are conducted successfully to streamline workflows and increase your chances of obtaining certification. Internal audit training can help businesses to develop the knowledge, skills, and expertise to undertake in-house audits and provide you with the information you need to conduct detailed and comprehensive audits throughout your business.
The feedback you receive following a stage 1 audit will help you to improve your practices and processes and increase the likelihood of you achieving certification, providing it’s implemented adequately.
In due course, a stage 2 audit will be conducted before the certification decision process takes place. While these inspection services can be nerve-wracking for businesses, it is simply a way of ensuring that your practices and methodologies meet the requirements of the standard and help to ensure that ISO standards continue to represent leading practices.
If non-conformities or inadequacies are highlighted during your stage 2 audit, there’s no need to panic. Typically, businesses are given a specified period of time to rectify non-conformities following an audit, before the decision-making process is complete.
As you can see, the ISO certification process can rigorous, time-consuming, and complex, but accessing expert guidance and support can give you the insight you need to streamline the process and achieve compliance.
QAS International is able to offer guidance on the ISO certifications in this article, namely ISO 22000, ISO 27001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, and ISO 50001. Contact us now on 020 3198 9788 to learn more about our services.