ISO 22000 provides a set of requirements for a Food Safety Management System (FSMS). It was developed to provide a globally recognised Standard for Food Safety.
ISO 22000 isn’t specific to food manufacturing. It can be applied to any stage of the food supply chain, including storage, distribution, retail and mass catering.
When it comes to mass catering, event management can be a particularly complex field, and HACCP managers in this sector face logistical issues that are totally different to those faced in manufacturing or processing. High risk products, time pressures and transient staff provide even further complications.
As a result, ISO 22000 provides an excellent way to manage the complex processes that event management companies are required to follow.
Documented Food Safety System
Event management companies are required to show that they have developed a documented food safety system, identified hazards through a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Plan and that the system is effectively monitored and measured.
With every event being different, it isn’t so easy to rely on standard processes.
Event management companies are often ‘one stop shops’ providing a full service for events as varied as festivals, weddings, product launches, concerts and one-off sporting events. Most often, they are providing food to a very large number of people at a single event.
Loss of key controls such as cold storage and holding times, food handler health assurance, poor cleaning and even the use of inappropriate catering equipment and materials, have often been the cause of high-profile food safety and food poisoning incidents.
It’s essential that any service that requires the handling of food is conducted in a safe and efficient manner and that the process has been designed to ensure that the food provided is safe for consumption.
Using the old adage of ‘what gets measured gets done’ as a basis, records and timely reactions to data are the best ways of demonstrating adherence to the food safety management system.
ISO 22000 and HACCP Plans
A food management system such as ISO 22000, combined with a HACCP plan, can only increase clients’ confidence in the level of service. The preparation of a HACCP plan for a business as complex as event management is not easy and obtaining certification can be difficult with so many risks and variations to consider and control. However, a food poisoning outbreak at any function will ensure the business is lost and will pose a real threat to the company itself.
Laying the table is one thing but serving safe food is another!
The work environment and infrastructure must be sufficient to produce safe products, so it’s really important that the HACCP plan includes:
- Venue information (including layout and kitchen equipment)
- Raw materials approval
- Control of cross contamination in preparation areas
- Control of transport of the food around venues
The Hazard Analysis enables identification of the hazards. The related control measures that the subsequently developed HACCP plan requires will be used to reduce or eliminate all those hazards.
All identified hazards must be eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels through the use of controls. Controls include:
- Pre-requisite Programs
- Critical control points
- Operational Pre-requisite Programs
The HACCP plan will need to include the planned actions that will be taken if there is an out of control CCP or PRP and with the variable nature of event management – these can be many!
They must determine which products may have been affected, how the product will be controlled and how the process or system must be put right.
With experience, the nature of the risks in event management will start to form a pattern and can be grouped, but considerable analysis is required to do this. That said, there will always be unusual circumstances presented by the one-off nature of event management and new hazards will continually present themselves. These will need addressing in the event planning stage and any risk that isn’t covered might require a single-use or event specific prevention measure.
Such measures will, in time, accumulate to give a library of solutions to the event manager that can be called upon to deal with the unusual nature of the business.
Given the complexity of the industry, and the vital importance of food safety, certification to ISO 22000 is an ideal solution for any event management company looking to offer assurance to its customers.
Updated from an article published 2013 by https://www.haccp-international.com/