Food companies develop strategies for the quality and the safety of food under the impetus of regulations, within the framework of the Hygiene Packet in particular, and of the international standards (ISO 9001, ISO 22000), but also due to european distribution specifications (BRC - British Retail Consortium and IFS - International Food Standards) and specifications in the Codex Alimentarius.
In this changing context which is imposing new constraints on companies, without many of them having the internal means to respond to these constraints, especially SMBs, a group of quality audit specialists at the Actia Centres has gotten involved in order to study the interaction and the complementarities of the quality reference standards.
Actia centres’ specialists have worked on 49 specifications sorted into five chapters: quality management, pre-requisite programs (PRP), hazard analysis (HACCP), production management, traceability/nonconformity, and continuous improvement. Each specification is compared with the regulations, essentially EC regulations 178/2002 and 852/2004; the requirements summarised in ISO standards 22000, TS 22002-1, TS 22002-4, and ISO 9001; IFS; the BRCGS Food Safety and Packaging standard; the NF EN 15593 standard; as well as the key points related to hygiene and food safety cited in the Codex Alimentarius.
Published in paper format by Actia in 2008, the “Practical guide to the use of reference standards for food quality and safety”, is now available as an interactive matrix that will enable us to progressively update it in line with changing standards.
In order to help companies implement a “food safety culture”, the specialists of the Reference standards network have designed a guide presenting the history of the concept and its various components, enabling companies to carry out self-assessment and identify areas for improvement to implement and promote this positive approach to food safety management.