Why your company should be ISO 22001 certified
Anyone who has played in the food and beverage field knows that maintaining quality and hygiene standards are crucial to success. No matter how small or new a business may be, the ISO 22001 guidelines should be its mantra, says Astrid de la Rey
In the food and beverage industry there are so many moving parts and so many points at which contamination is possible, that quality control is essential for the survival of a business. One misstep can easily ruin the reputation of any company in the industry.
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) – a non-governmental organisation that strives to help companies keep their standards at the highest level on a global scale – has created a set of guidelines specifically aimed at the food and beverage industry: ISO 22001.
It covers the entire food chain – from production to point of sale – and is a crucial guide for any such company looking to succeed. ISO 22001 focuses on procedure and best practices across the board and is the most effective way to ensure a company is operating at the highest standard.
The ISO 22001 guidelines are applicable to all players in the food and beverage industry – from farms and packaging firms to transport, handling and restaurants.
For those who are getting flustered by all the acronyms, ISO 22001 is part of the ISO 22000 “family” of standards; all of which are focused on the food and beverage industry.
The ISO 22001 guidelines are effective because they incorporate aspects of ISO 9001 (which is essentially a list of hygiene principles) as well as aspects of hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), which identify every conceivable point of risk in the food chain.
The ISO 22001 guidelines combine the basic health and safety principles of the industry with the more structured and scientific approach of HACCP. The result is a brilliant system that will give a company the tools and foundation with which to thrive in this extremely competitive industry.
The benefits of implementing ISO 22001
• It is a preventative approach to food and beverage safety. Recently, a lot more emphasis has been placed on being proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to the food industry. Not only does this ensure fewer unsavoury incidents, but it means huge financial savings in the long run.
• It is a clear framework that can be applied to any step in the food chain. It has tried and tested procedures, which can be audited according to international standards.
• By implementing these standards it is possible to easily identify areas that need improvement, which leads to fewer customer complaints. The guidelines also assist in finding the best solution for any areas that aren’t performing up to standard.
• The ISO 22001 guidelines greatly reduce the need for and, therefore, the cost of end-product testing.
• Following these guidelines and providing evidence of all the safety steps that have been taken along the way will make it possible to avoid negative publicity in the event of a recall. In other words, it helps to keep facts straight and filing systems in order and is solid proof that a company aspires to the highest standards.
• If implemented correctly, these guidelines will help everyone in an organisation to understand why it’s so important to have strict standards, as well as how to achieve them. This, in turn, should improve staff performance and morale as there’s a better understanding of the company goals. If staff understand the reason behind health and safety regulations, they are more likely to follow them.
• It makes staff training so much easier, as there will be a blueprint of all necessary training, and specific areas can be referred back to whenever necessary.
• ISO 22001 will lead to a cleaner and healthier environment overall.
• It shows that a company is dedicated to customer satisfaction.
• It boosts a company’s image. By implementing ISO 22001 a company is more likely to attract suppliers and partners that adhere to the same standards. This benefits all aspects of a business, as it will be working with the best in the industry.
• Customers and retailers are becoming more “standards savvy” and will often require their suppliers to be ISO certified. In this regard, an ISO 22001 certification will help to broaden the scope of a business.
• ISO 22001 helps an organisation to be structured in a way that makes it easier to conduct internal compliance and management reviews.
• The ISO 22001 guidelines easily slot in with other management systems such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Companies already certified as ISO 9001, for example, should find it easy to adopt ISO 22001, which is a more comprehensive evolution of ISO 9001.
The biggest mistake any business in this game can make is to assume they’ve “got it” and that all the areas where things can go wrong have already been identified – because they haven’t…
New companies run the risk losing everything before they’ve even started unless they implement a solid system of standards such as ISO 22001. Established companies risk getting left behind, or becoming obscure, due to outdated safety procedures.
No matter how long a company has been in business, it’s vital to ensure that the latest and most advanced management systems are being implemented.
Adhering to ISO 22001 ensures that a company has a solid foundation to deliver the best product and service possible. Making these standards a part of a company’s culture will go a long way in raising its reputation and ensuring success.