ISO 22000:2018 - The context (Part 2)

ISO 22000:2018 - THE CONTEXT (Part 2)

With this post we continue with the analysis of the so-called “context” of the ISO 22000-2018 standard, after the foreword, which we analysed previously, to now deal with the corresponding Introduction clause.

It is worth commenting that when developing a standard, in those cases in which it is considered appropriate to establish an introductory clause, as in the case of ISO 22000: 2018, that Introduction clause is not numbered, or is assigned the number 0, indicating that is not part of the technical content of the standard. In the case of the standard we are analysing, the Introduction is made up of four parts, or subclauses, which are as follows:

In subclause 0.1 General, it indicates that the choice for an organization to adopt a food safety management system (FSMS) is a strategic decision that can help it improve its overall performance in food safety. The potential benefits to an organization implementing an FSMS based on this standard are as follows:

a) the ability to consistently provide safe foods and products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements;

b) addressing risks associated with its objectives;

c) the ability to demonstrate conformity to specified FSMS requirements.

This subclause indicates that this document employs the process approach, which incorporates the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle and risk-based thinking.

This process approach enables an organization to plan its processes and their interactions.

The PDCA cycle enables an organization to ensure that its processes are adequately resourced and managed, and that the opportunities for improvement are determined and acted on.

Risk-based thinking enables an organization to determine the factors that could cause its processes and its FSMS to deviate from the planned results, and to put in place controls to prevent or minimize adverse effects.
In this document, and in all ISO HLS management system standards, the following verbal forms are used:

— “shall”;    — “should”;    — “may”;    — “can”.

“NOTES” provide guidance in understanding or clarifying the requirements in this document.

In the subclause 0.2 FSMS principles, it is indicated that food safety is related to the presence of food safety hazards at the time of consumption (intake by the consumer). Food safety hazards can occur at any stage of the food chain. Therefore, adequate control throughout the food chain is essential. Food safety is ensured through the combined efforts of all the parties in the food chain. This document specifies the requirements for a FSMS that combines the following generally recognized key elements:

In addition, this document is based on the principles that are common to ISO management system standards. The management principles are:

Customer focus: The primary focus of food safety management is to meet customer requirements and try to exceed customer expectations.

Leadership: Leaders at all levels establish unity of purpose and direction and create conditions in which people are involved in achieving the organization's safety objectives.

Engagement of people: Competent, empowered and committed people across the organization are essential to increasing the organization's ability to generate and deliver value.

Process approach: Consistent and predictable results are achieved more effectively and efficiently when activities are understood and managed as interrelated processes that function as a coherent system.

Improvement: Successful organizations have a continuous focus towards improvement.

Evidence-based decision making: Decisions based on the analysis and evaluation of data and information are more likely to produce the desired results.

Relationship management: For sustained success, organizations manage their relationships with relevant stakeholders, such as suppliers.

In subclause 0.3 Process approach, it establishes the following subsections: 0.3.1 General, 0.3.2 Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, 0.3.3 Risk-based thinking, and 0.4 Relationship with other management system standards.

In subsection 0.3.1 General, the standard indicates that this document adopts a process approach when developing and implementing a FSMS and improving its effectiveness to enhance production of safe products and services while meeting applicable requirements. Understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its intended results. The process approach involves the systematic definition and management of processes, and their interactions, so as to achieve the intended results in accordance with the food safety policy and strategic direction of the organization. Management of the processes and the system as a whole can be achieved using the PDCA cycle, with an overall focus on risk-based thinking aimed at taking advantage of opportunities and preventing undesirable results.

The recognition of the organization’s role and position within the food chain is essential to ensure effective interactive communication throughout the food chain.

Subsection 0.3.2 Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle (PVHA) indicates that the PHVA cycle can be described, in a simple way, as follows:

Plan:         At this stage of the cycle, system objectives and its processes are established, the resources needed are provided to deliver the results, and the risks and opportunities are identified and addressed;

Do:   In this stage is implemented what was planned;

Check:      In this stage, the organization should monitor and (where relevant) measure processes and the resulting products and services, should analyse and evaluate information and data from monitoring, measuring and verification activities, and should report the results;

Act:  In this stage actions are taken to improve performance, as necessary.

In this document, and as illustrated in Figure 1, the process approach uses the concept of the PDCA cycle at two levels. The first covers the overall frame of the FSMS (Clause 4 to Clause 7 and Clause 9 to Clause 10). The other level (operational planning and control) covers the operational processes within the food safety system as described in Clause 8. Communication between the two levels is therefore essential.

Figure 1 — Illustration of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle at the two levels

In the next post we will conclude with the analysis of the elements of the "context" of the ISO 22000: 2018 standard.


Ernesto Palomares Hilton