Food Safety Management || Principles and Systems for Quality and Food Safety Management

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  • 537 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Food Safety Management.DOI: 2014

    Principles and Systems for Quality and Food Safety

    ManagementPeter Overbosch and Sarah Blanchard

    Metro AG, Duesseldorf, Germany

    22C H A P T E R

    Principles, Systems and Schemes 538Background and Working Definitions 538Conclusion 539Food Safety Initiatives 540

    GFSI 540HACCP 540ISO 9001 5406 Sigma 540

    Principles and Associated Systems 541Hygiene 541

    Food Safety Initiatives 542Prevention and Risk Reduction 543

    Food Safety Initiatives 545Reliability 545

    Food Safety Initiatives 546Consistency 547

    Traceability 548Food Safety Initiatives 549

    Customer and/or Consumer Relevance 549Food Safety Initiatives 550

    Transparency/Accountability 551Food Safety Initiatives 552

    Integrated Schemes and Their Limitations 552

    Systems and the Value Chain 553Food Safety Initiatives 556

    The Future of Systems 556

    O U T L I N E




    Background and Working Definitions

    In this chapter we will first look at the scope and meaning of quality and food safety management and then discuss principles and their relationship with systems and schemes.

    Quality and safety in food are best considered together in this context. While for some purposes (for example, HACCP) we will want to make clear distinctions between them, they also share a number of common elements, especially from a perspective of their management.

    For our current purposes, therefore, we will consider the management of food in terms of the goals we aim to achieve: safety, legality, consistency and consumer acceptability.

    Food businesses all around the world must build and maintain management systems around these aspects.

    There are many definitions of principles, but for our purposes we might view them as headings under which we bring together all methods, techniques and background knowl-edge necessary to manage a particular (sub) aspect of food quality and safety. The principles therefore all relate back to one or more of the goals listed above, and together they cover our needs. Whether the list is exhaustive will remain debatable, but it should suffice to cover our needs and relate to the systems (see below).

    Systems can be understood as management tools, aimed at operationalizing the princi-ples. Of all the methods, techniques and background knowledge associated with a principle, a system typically selects those that must be used to fulfill appropriate requirements in a par-ticular context, to make them as concrete and measurable as possible and provide a defined endpoint where possible. As an example, we might take consistency, which was mentioned above as a goal (in practice we would then need to specify targets and limits for parameters), but is also listed below as a principle (but then we need to mention related methods and tech-niques, and the backgrounds of statistics and metrology). 6 Sigma, for example, is a manage-ment system that operationalizes the principle of consistency: it provides steps, presents specific methods and background knowledge and defines an endpoint (in its most literal sense, that endpoint is the achievement of 6 Sigma performance for the parameter(s) in question).

    We will use the term scheme to describe a construction where one or more systems have been enveloped in an auditing/certification format. This applies to a large degree to our current topics management systems in the area of food quality and safety usually combine the application of various principles under one roof. The GFSI-recognized certifi-cation schemes (currently including BRC, IFS, FSSC 22000, CanadaGap, GlobalGAP, Global Red Meat Standard, Global Aquaculture Alliance Seafood Processing Standard, PrimusGFS, Safe Quality Food) are all representatives of this approach. They typically cover gen-eral quality management systems requirements, loosely based on ISO 9001, including an HACCP module (based on the Codex format), and they provide a series of prerequisite program requirements, which address the principles of hygiene.

    These schemes provide clear advantages: they present a concrete and comprehensive for-mat to the management of food quality and safety, their certifications can be used as the basis of acceptability within the industry and (increasingly) towards authorities, and they can be expanded and updated as necessary with the input of all stakeholders.



    The disadvantages, however, relate mostly to the fact that all schemes (and their underly-ing systems) are compromises:

    1. Specificity in order to be widely applicable, the requirements can never be sufficiently specific to fit any particular operation and the scheme owners must strike a balance between the (commercial) scope of their scheme and the relevance of the practical guidance it provides. ISO 9001, for example, is designed to be universally applicable, and therefore contains nothing that would specifically apply to food. In contrast, one might design a standard specific to each process for each food (or raw material) product. This would lead to a totally unmanageable multitude of standards and still not be precisely applicable to every individual situation. The above-mentioned global standards have managed to strike a much more relevant balance for the food industry, but it is important to note that there will always be this balance, and it is impossible to get it just right for all operations and situations. The limited specificity of global standards then makes the professional judgment of the auditor the key deciding factor for the practical validity of any certificate, which represents a structural vulnerability of these approaches. The report of the Joint FAO/WHO consultation on the Role of Government Agencies in Assessing HACCP, Geneva, 26 June 1998 already states that it is important that the use of a checklist does not evolve into a simple tick-box approach where there is no critical evaluation.

    2. Level of sophistication in order to address legal and market expectations in the most developed markets, standard requirements must be set at levels that may not be easily attainable in developing markets. Any claim of global relevance then risks ending up in a compromise that is practically irrelevant everywhere. As a result, the GFSI standards now include a stepping-stone approach, the global markets scheme. While this clearly addresses a realistic need, it also gets us back to what are effectively local rather than global standards.

    All in all, therefore, management schemes are compromises and their practical claims are critically dependent on the professional qualifications of their auditors. Still, it is probably fair to say that the world of food quality and safety management has benefited enormously from these schemes, and their development and global acceptance is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

    We will see further in this chapter the use of systems to manage food safety and quality between different elements of the value chain and between organizations, for example link-ing retailers with suppliers.

    While IT can help structure and track processes in a system, we do not specifically tackle IT systems in this chapter. We do, however, make reference to relevant types of IT software systems, and where they are driving the adoption of overall systems to manage food safety and quality.


    From the above it is clear that effectively and efficiently managing food safety and qual-ity in any specific case will always have to involve the application of principles. Whether



    it must also involve a formal system, or a certification scheme, will depend on the need for additional structure and/or external recognition. To make certification as meaningful as possible, the choice of the appropriate scheme is important, but even more important is the professional qualification and attitude of the auditor.

    Food Safety Initiatives

    GFSIThe Global Food Safety Initiative was established to continuously improve food safety

    management systems and ensure confidence in the provision of safe food to consumers worldwide. The initiative is business driven, bringing together leading food safety experts from global organizations to collaborate through the GFSI platform. Defining food safety requirements throughout the food supply chain, benchmarking different food safety stand-ards against the requirements, building capacity of small or less developed businesses and focusing on auditor competency are the main activities. (See

    HACCPHazard analysis and critical control points is a specific food safety-oriented method that

    was developed in the USA. In the meantime it has become the universally recognized and accepted method for food safety assurance, part of food safety legislation in the EU, USA and many other countries. Guidelines for the application of the HACCP system have been adopted by the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission. HACCP certification through certification bodies is available in many countries usually through the HACCP-based ISO 22000 scheme or the GFSI-recognized FSSC 22000 scheme, which combines ISO 22000 with Prerequisite Programs as described in ISO/TS 22002-1. (See also HACCP and its validation and maintenance in this book:



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