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Simon

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 05:50 AM

Food safety norms being tightened
Wednesday April 5 2006 00:00 IST

KOCHI: While providing standard products to the world market, domestic consumers should not be neglected, S.P.Sharma, Director General of the Bureau of Indian Standard, said here on Tuesday.

Launching the bureau's food safety management system (FSMS) certification as per IS/ISO 22000, he said that the International Organisation for Standardisation had developed ISO 22000 certification with the cooperation of Codex Alimentarius Commission, the body jointly established by the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Health Organisation for food safety management systems covering all the organisations in the food chain.

The ISO 22000 certification helps to implement the Codex Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system for food hygiene. It covers key standards developed by various global food retailers and thus equips India to reach such standards.

The ISO 22000 is designed to implement a food safety management system within the food chain links like feed producers, primary producers, food manufacturers, transport and storage operators and subcontractors to retail and food service outlets.

Companies that already have ISO 9001 will find it easy to extend this certification to ISO 22000

Devadasan, Director of CIFT, Kochi, pointed out the importance of implementing the standards.


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Posted 26 May 2006 - 05:45 AM

Going beyond HACCP

Sanjeev Bhar finds out more about the advanced ISO 22000 certification that is set to replace the existing HACCP food safety standard in Indian hotels.

The hotel industry has often been accused of being slow in adopting new strategies. But it is important to phase out the old ones and usher in new ones.

Food is considered to be the heart of hotel business and it has always remains under the scanner. Ensuring the best possible hygiene practice is thereby pertinent. With the advent of the new ISO 22000 standard, it would be wise for hotels to phase out the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) method for food safety. The episode of avian flu was reason enough to reconsider our precautionary measures.

Areas for thought
HACCP was the 'the most' potent method for ensuring food safety. But it is time to upgrade it to another level in food safety described as ISO 22000:2005 - the new international food safety management system standard.

It combines the generally recognised elements for food safety. The key issues are related to interactive communication, system management, control of food safety hazards through pre-requisite programmes and HACCP plans, and continual improvement and updating of the management system throughout the food supply chain.

As a standard body for food safety management system, BSI Management System inspects and certifies numerous organisations dealing in food/food products. But according to the company, many hotels in India are yet to be upgraded to the existing HACCP technology standards.

Bhavna Mohindra, client manager at BSI India says, "We need to focus on the way food is being handled by the hotel staff. Mere upgrading the technology on food safety would not be a solution to the problem." She is of the view that many hotels in India are still following primitive methods for ensuring food safety. But it is necessary to upgrade the overall aspect in the kitchen to achieve complete food safety.

Dr S S Dhillon, consultant, at Quality & Hotel Management says, "With rising concerns, we are bound to go to the next level in food safety with time and technology being upgraded." He adds, "Flight kitchens in India need special attention as the possibility of microbial germination in food is high in the conditions so confronted as food travels from hotel to airports."

The need for transition
"Although the number of hotels yet to phase out the old technology for food safety audit is large, but most of the four- and five-star hotels are conscious of the need and are upgrading standards. They are moving from HACCP to ISO 22000:2005 system," remarks Dhillon, who till recently was working as the general manager (quality control) at Taj Palace Hotel New Delhi.

Every three years, reviews are conducted to know which are the areas the existing system does not provide a check. In doing so, systems are then upgraded. "Numerous food sector businesses are realising this fact and are moving forward to upgrade the existing practices in food safety," adds Mohindra.

"We are in the process of getting into upgraded certification but it is nothing new to us, as this has to be done time and again. With environmental changes taking place thick and fast, it becomes a necessity to review the food safety parameters all the time. Food safety norms and its review is paramount for hospitality business," said an official in the Oberoi Flight Services, New Delhi.

Maintaining a definite level in standard is vital for any business. The parameter of safety, quality and reliability of food served in hotel should be matched to the best of standards. Many hotels, which include some big names in the business, are following technology and need to adopt the latest as food safety is one area where constant development is demanded. The best of standards needs to be established and that can only happen if the industry keeps the pace parallel to developments in food safety management systems. Arun Tyagi, corporate executive chef, Radisson MBD Noida feels, "Going for upgraded techniques in food safety is no longer a choice. Food safety is of paramount importance."

Benefits of adopting ISO 22000:2005 Certifying food management system against the requirements of ISO 22000:2005 will bring the following benefits:

  • Applies to all organisations in the global food supply chain.
  • A truly global international standard.
  • Provides potential for harmonisation of national standards.
  • Covers the majority of the requirements of the current retailer food safety standards.
  • Complies with the Codex HACCP principles.
  • Provides communication of HACCP concepts internationally.
  • An auditable standard which provides a framework for third-party certification.
  • Auditable standards with clear requirements.
  • Suitable for regulators.
  • The structure aligns with the management system clauses of ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004.

(Source: BSI India Pvt. Ltd.)

Upgradation
Most hotels are found to be using the HACCP system for managing food safety, combining with an auditable management system. The principles of HACCP were created to develop food standards, guidelines and codes of practice, which are traceable to the Codex Alimentarius Commission. But it is now being recognised by the hotel industry that HACCP needs upgradation.

Dhillon says, "From food temperature for storage, presentation to washing and upkeep of personnel dealing with food is being covered under the safety codex of HACCP. The Taj Group, understanding the importance of food safety, is incorporating the new system."

The time duration for implementation of the new system depends on how many new features are being added to the existing system. For example, the Taj Group is introducing around six specifications like temperature norms and vendor auditing, etc for better hygiene control.

"Eyeing that India (Delhi) is hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2010, it is our duty to upgrade our food safety standard," urges Mohindra. She adds, "During 2010, the expectancy of arrivals of foreign nationals will be quite high. We will be in a tight spot if we are unable to provide food safety standards comparable to international level."

The Oberoi official adds, "We service international airlines like KLM, British Airways and Lufthansa and have to abide by HACCP rules. Regarding our hotels and resorts, the transition to ISO 22000 is underway." Similarly, Radisson MBD Noida is on its way to implement new grading for food safety. Tyagi says, "We are at the preliminary stage ascertaining the audit process and expect it to be in place by end of 2006. The new ISO rule will enable better understanding for hotels and restaurants because of its clarity."

Also, FHRAI has urged hotels to upgrade themselves in terms of food safety standards. Dhillon concludes, "A sound food safety system is one that addresses peripheral matters like kitchen conditions, personal hygiene and medication, clear drainage systems, proper vaccination against diseases/regular medical check-ups, etc. Training programmes by hotels play a key role in implementation of upgraded food safety system."

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Charles Chew

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 04:10 AM

Simon,

This issue was raised in an earlier thread but nevertheless its a good reminder to the neighbouring countries about how serious India is in getting their industries up to speed for the imminent global impact.

I still feel that BRC and IFS would be coerced into accepting ISO 22K through some form of consensus in maintaining its claim as a "due diligence" standard. Well, is ISO 22K not a due diligence standard when it has been globally endorsed. :dunno:


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Simon

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 07:10 PM

I still feel that BRC and IFS would be coerced into accepting ISO 22K through some form of consensus in maintaining its claim as a "due diligence" standard. Well, is ISO 22K not a due diligence standard when it has been globally endorsed. :dunno:


Maybe given time but the jury is still out. I guess ISO 22000 is a godsend for developing countries previously without a due dilligence standard.

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