ISO standard set for food traceability
By Ahmed ElAmin
A new international
standard has been set for traceability along the food chain, setting
out a complete system under which processors can get certification.
The International Standards Organsation this month issued ISO 22005 as the latest in its series for the food and drink industry.
ISO 22005 sets out the general principles and basic requirements for designing and implementing a traceability system along a processor’s supply chain.
aim to get certified by independent audit companies in a bid to
demonstrate to regulators and consumers that they have taken the
necessary steps to protect the safety of their products.
recent years, cases of food poisoning and outbreaks have pushed the
many countries, including EU members, to require that processors have a
traceability system in place to protect public health.
regulations generally require that each company know who their
immediate supplier is and to whom the product is being sent, on the
principle of “one up, one down”.
A traceability system can also help a company withdraw or recall products faster and more efficiently.
who achieve certification under the new ISO standard will be required
to have systems in place to trace the flow of feed, food, ingredients
and packaging into and out of their plants.
They must also be
able to identify the necessary documentation and tracking for each
stage of production, ensure the adequate coordination between the
different actors involved, and require that each party be informed of
at least his direct suppliers and clients.
traceability system can improve the appropriate use and reliability of
information, effectiveness and productivity of the organisation,” ISO stated in releasing the standards.
food safety hazards can enter the food chain at any stage, adequate
control and communication throughout the process is essential, ISO
“One weak link in the supply chain can result in
unsafe food, which can present a serious danger to consumers and have
costly repercussions for suppliers,” the organisation stated. “Food safety is therefore the joint responsibility of all the actors involved.”
also promotes the standard as a cost saving measure, doing away with
the need for multiple and sometimes conflicting schemes used by
different players along a supply chain.
“In the food
industry, a diversity of retail and private quality schemes generate
uneven levels of safety, confusion over requirements and increased cost
and complication for suppliers obliged to conform to multiple
programmes,” the organisation stated. “ISO 22005 offers a unique solution for good practice on a worldwide basis and thus contributes to lowering trade barriers.”
ISO 22005 is the second in a series of food safety standards launched by the organisation.
The standard uses the same definition of traceability as the Codex Alimentarius Commission and provides a complement for organisations implementing the ISO 22000 standard, released in 2005.
22000 sets out the basic requirements for a food safety management
system to ensure safe food supply chains. ISO 22000 also incorporates
the principles of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point
(HACCP) system for food hygiene.
Under EU law, “traceability”
means the ability to track any food, feed, food-producing animal or
substance that will be used for consumption, through all stages of
production, processing and distribution.
The controls were made
mandatory after past food crises, such as dioxin contamination and BSE,
showed that the bloc need a system to respond quickly to such events.