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Safe Food:Significance of ISO 22000 to the Food Industry

The ISO 22000, applicable to the food industry, offers a broad spectrum of benefits to the consumers as well as the producers of edible items. This international benchmark is vitally important for the suppliers, users and government regulators.

Food safety is related to the presence of and levels of food-borne hazards in edibles at the point of consumption. As food safety hazards may be introduced at any stage of the food chain, adequate control throughout the chain is essential.

To understand the relevance of ISO 22000 in its real perspective, we have to find out what benefits it exactly offers.

To the society:

  • Adoption of ISO 22000 ensures that the products are created as per the specifications enshrined in it. It also helps the producers to be more competitive in the international markets.
  • The consumers are benefited as they know they have guarantee of the quality, safety and reliability of a particular product that follow international standards
  • Contributes to the quality of life in general by:

– ensuring safe food

– reducing food borne diseases

– more efficient documentation of techniques, methods and procedures

To the traders:

  • Acts as an international benchmark for regional and global markets
  • It does away with the formulation of divergent national or regional standards, which in turn, can create technical barriers in carrying out inter-regional trade
  • As this defines standard of the food manufactured to meet international standards, the business prospects, especially for exports, goes up

To the government:

For governments, ISO 22000 provides:

– technological and scientific know-how

– bases for developing health, safety and environmental legislation

– education of food regulatory personnel certification or registration

– international acceptance of standards used globally

– food quality / safety / security

Other benefits:

  • Confidence that organizations implementing ISO 22000 have the ability to identify and control food safety hazards
  • Provides potential for harmonization of national standards
  • Provides a reference for the whole food chain;
  • Provides a framework for third party certification
  • Contributes to a better understanding and further development of Codex HACCP
  • System approach rather than product approach

The ISO 22000 fills a gap between ISO 9001:2000 and Codex Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) as formulated by the FAO. This document highlights the key hygiene controls at each stage along the food chain from primary production through to the final consumer, and recommends a HACCP approach wherever possible to enhance food safety. The HACCP approach is internationally recognized as essential to ensuring the safety and suitability of food for human consumption and it enhances the potential for international trade.

Nabhojit Ghosh, Executive Chef,
Taj Coromandel, Chennai (The author was a speaker at the seminar on ‘Food Safety’ at Clean India Show, 2008)

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