ISO 22000 is being revised – expected 2018

The popular Management System Standard covering Food Safety – ISO 22000 – is undergoing its scheduled review by the International Organisation for Standardisation.

All ISO Standards are reviewed every 5 years to ensure they remain beneficial business tools and, although the review is still at the enquiry stage, possible adjustments to the Standard have already been identified to bring it up-to-date with today’s food safety measures and principles.

The main issue identified by ISO is that ISO 22000 does not follow the same high-level Annex SL structure used by more modern Standards within the ISO catalogue. ISO plans to address this so that organisations can implement multiple management systems with ease.

Ensuring a hygienic environment throughout the food chain, right up to the point of consumption, is one of the main goals of food safety related laws and regulations. An essential part of this is the prevention, reduction and elimination of risk and the revised ISO 22000 Standard plans to include several key elements which aim to ensure this.

A food safety hazard can occur at any stage in the food supply chain, so the revisions to the Standard will also look to provide adequate controls to address hazards at every step of the way. These new controls will include efforts to improve communication so that food hazards are identified and managed correctly through the combined effort of everyone involved: from producers to retailers, transporters to storage providers.

Because of the alterations to hazard identification and management, a clarification is needed to the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. In its current form, the cycle within ISO 22000 doesn’t quite cover everything that the Standard needs. To address this, two cycles have been proposed: one to cover the management system itself, and another to cover the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) principles. Alongside this, better definitions for some HACCP related terms will be issued and a reassessment of how risk based thinking is considered is also needed.

Specialists in food safety management systems from over 30 countries are currently reviewing the comments provided during the draft stage to simplify the language and concepts so that they can be understood by anyone, regardless of their experience in food safety. In addition to language changes, it is still possible that further adjustments to the standard than those listed above may be required.

Publication of the revised standard is expected by June 2018.