Food Safety Management Systems
Certification of Management Systems in the Food Chain and relating industries
Food processing today is in dire need of high quality and safety care from all partners involved in the food chain. Unfortunately quality control and food safety does not always depend on the food processor. Statistics show that many foods are bound either due to non-compliances at primary production (high pesticide concentration), or due to the process of treatment and disposal (e.g. salmonella). Actually, one can find on the Internet several EU-cared information systems for announcing and warning operators and consumers on issues regarding unsafe food. One of them is the «Rapid Alert System» which is available for subscription to all stakeholders.
In order to mitigate and eliminate the disposal of unsafe food to the consumer, efforts began several years ago by consumer groups, wholesalers, large supermarket chains, inspection and certification bodies. At the beginning, there were attempts in Europe to join the food and the whole range of the production process in a cycle of continuous improvement in order to keep and dispose it safe for consumption. In several European societies, a consciousness was developed to ensure the quality of the finished product at the consumer’s table through auditing and certifying the food. The idea of developing new Product certification standards, commonly accepted by all stakeholders and across the world, was adopted. The turnout was spectacular and standards such as ISO 22000, BRC, IFS, FSSC 22000, etc. were developed and implemented, while in most cases the creation of standards has been supported by many experienced technical teams from around the world.
ISO 22000, BRC, IFS, FSSC 22000 standards could easily be classified as the ones internationally accepted and mutually recognized with other standards. They are clear, straightforward in their demands and consumer oriented. Above all these efforts, there has been the common position of scientists, consumers, wholesalers, certification bodies and other interested parties in the Accreditation need these standards. Certification Bodies from all over Europe, including Greece, have been accredited to control and certify products according to the standards ISO 22000, FSSC 22000, BRC, IFS. E.SY.D (National Accreditation Council) as a National Accreditation Body of the Hellenic Ministry of Development accredits certification bodies. Similarly accreditation bodies throughout the world accredit certification bodies.
The response from all stakeholders is admirable and has one common purpose: Safe food to the consumer’s table.
BRC, IFS, ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 are Food Safety Management System standards. They apply to Packing, Processing, Storage and Disposal of products and ensure further promotion of agricultural or livestock or processed food and/or food related products to the consumer.
BRC, IFS, ISO 22000, FSSC 22000 and other certifications have been declared as a prerequisite for the purchase and distribution of food and processed food. This requirement has been stated by many consumer groups and supermarkets in Europe and the world. This certification is becoming more and more useful to the consumer and its added value contributes to the “quality circle for safer food to the consumers”.
Q-CERT operates in countries of Europe, Asia and Africa regions through a network of partners and collaborating bodies and provide accredited certification services through accreditation by E.SY.D. for the ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 standards, and in exclusive partnership with NSF Certification for the BRC, BRC/IOP and IFS standards.