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Introduction to ISO 22000

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Posted 02 June 2003 - 10:47 AM

Has anyone heard of ISO 22000?

No, neither had I until last week. ISO 22000 is important news for the entire food industry and we should be aware of the proposed standard and the possible implications it may have for us all.

In light of this I tracked down Dr John G. Surak the Coordinator of International Programs for the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences at Clemson University and Professor of Food Science. John is also convenor to the USTAG to ISO TC 34 Working Group 8, the ISO committee that is currently developing the ISO 22000 food safety management standard.

At the 2003 Annual Quality Congress of the American Society for Quality, John presented a paper on ISO 22000. Download a pdf copy of the paper and the slides. John will also discuss ISO 22000 briefly during one of his presentations at a short course at The IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo 2003 - visit IFT website. www.ift.org

In addition to the information provided John kindly answered the following questions:

ST - Will ISO 22000 supersede current standards such as The BRC Food Standard & The BRC/IoP Packaging Standard?

JS - I cannot answer this question. I have not seen your standard, so I cannot conduct a comparison. If you would be willing to send me a copy of the standard, I will be willing to make a comparison between your standard and ISO 22000.

However, one reason for the development of the ISO standard resides in the fact that there have been a proliferation of auditable food safety management standards. Therefore, it MAY replace your standard. ISO standards are voluntary standards and if you elect to replace you standard with the ISO 22000 it will happen because they are equivalent standards

ST - Will the standard embrace all the requirements of ISO 9001:2000?

JS - The short answer is no. ISO 22000 will be compatible with ISO 9002:2000. In addition, ISO 22000 will be compliant with ISO Guide 72. Therefore the structure will look like ISO 9001. However, the scope of the standard is food safety management systems, not food quality management systems. Food quality management systems will be under ISO 9001. This decision was unanimous made by the working group. All parties initially agreed to this position. There was no discussion to combine the two issues.

ST - Why separate quality & hygiene

JS - From the US perspective, we want to see a separation of the quality issues from the safety issues.

One - It is a regulatory issue. The FDA and USDA regulations only deal with three issues.

1. Safe food
2. Wholesome food
3. Properly labelled food (economic fraud).

Quality is not an issue. The market will take care of companies that produce poor quality food.

Two - I see another critical issue. It is that decisions on quality become economic issues for the food processor. By producing poor quality food, are they willing to take the risk of losing sales in the market place. However, safety is not an economic issue. There can be no compromise for unsafe food. Therefore, the management decisions that are made with regard to quality and safety are different. I must also say that my teaching, research, public service, and consulting activities focus on improving product and process quality. Therefore, I personally feel that it is imperative that food processors increase the quality of their products to meet consumer needs and reduce production cost. Therefore, it is imperative to survive in the competitive global market place. Therefore, companies have no choice but to take the actions for safe high quality foods.

ST - Will the scope just cover food or is intended to be applicable for food packaging?

JS - Yes - The scope is to cover all organizations in the food chain.

ST - When will the standard be available?

JS - At the present time, the standard is scheduled for publication in Sept 2004. Providing there are no delays in the standard development process.


Thanks very much to John Surak for the information I hope it has provided a useful insight into ISO 22000.

So does ISO 22000 mean the end is nigh for The BRC Food and The BRC/IoP Packaging Standard or at the very least will it severely damage the standard's ambitions of becoming the worldwide norms. If you have questions or can provide any further information please start another thread.


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