One of the most essential services in the market today is the food industry, and precisely due to how vital this service is, the general public expect their food to be prepared, at every stage of the process, with the highest quality standards. Further, it is not just business’ working directly in this industry that should be adhering to these high food safety standards, but any business that has serving food as one of the services they offer, such as nursing homes or school canteens.
Poorly prepared food can lead to several problems, and for business’ working within this industry, this can have a detrimental effect on both their reputation and good-standing with customers. Therefore, it is crucial for hospitality business’ to have a set of quality assurance standards that they can work with to ensure that they are meeting food safety standards at every step of the production process, including purchasing the ingredients, preparing the food in-line with certified hygiene guidelines, and serving it.
Utilising a set of quality control standards can really help food producers get ahead in managing the responsibilities of preparing food which meets the hygiene standards of regulatory bodies, as well as ensuring that their consumers well-being is a top priority. It takes a long time to develop a reputation as a business with high standards of food preparation, and a single incident of food poisoning or a poorly prepared meal can bring the entire reputation of a business into question.
All relevant business’ could stand to benefit from applying a certified food safety standard to their food preparation, notably the ISO 22000 standard, which works as an independent safety standard audit to ensure that business’ in the food industry are compliant with local, state and federal regulations, as well as ensuring that their business practices are continually subject to inspections to verify that their practices continually meet these standards. Doing so helps preserve their reputation and gives them the freedom to focus primarily on their business operations, including retaining their current customer base and attracting new ones.
What ISO 22000 standards can do for your business
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) developed the ISO 22000 standard as a method of helping business’ deal with food safety in a seamless manner, which builds upon their existing business practices and integrates these food safety standards into their current operations.
This food safety standard combines general business management principles, with specific safety measures and requirements unique to the food industry, in order to address the issue of food safety standards through a demonstrably effective industry framework. It specifically addresses four key principles:
- Interactive Communication: This principle looks at how a communal sharing of ideas, views and feedback amongst employees, in a supportive environment, can lead to good quality opinions and suggestions being offered about strategies for improving the food safety standards of the business, that might not have otherwise been considered.
- System Management: This principle addresses what safety procedures, spot-checks and employee policies can be implemented by management to ensure that food preparation is done with the highest quality standards. It addresses this issue at both the employee level, such as regularly washing hands and preparing food in a hygienic environment, and upper management level, such as having adequate, hygienic onsite facilities for food to be prepared.
- Control of food safety hazards through pre–requisite programs and HACCP plans: This principle looks at preventing the spread of food hazards through the strategic elimination of the unhygienic environments that they thrive in. The HACCP system, which stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, follows a seven-step system of conducting an analysis of potential food hygiene hazards, identifying them and working to contain them, and finally establishing corrective actions that resolve the issue, as well as accurately logging what happened to prevent reoccurrence.
- Continual improvement and updating of the food management system: This principle addresses what business’ can and should do in order to constantly be on top of potential changes to their environment, what associated risks this may introduce, and how to rectify these issues in the simplest way possible.
ISO 22000 takes away the dirty work to keep your business clean
Making the decision to audit food safety is the first step an organisation can make to help bring their overall business objectives within reach. ISO 22000 standards are certified to work for business’ of all shapes and sizes, as the fundamental principles of food preparation and safety remain the same, regardless of the size or scope of your business.
Another benefit of conducting an external audit, via ISO 22000 standards, is that it allows you to see your business operations from an ‘outsider’ perspective, in which you approach food safety through a methodical, clinical approach, in accordance to industry standards. This allows business owners to get past any potential biases they may have, as they are working to strict guidelines that must be upheld.
Further, adherence to the principles found with ISO 22000 provides a clear reference point for all companies to adhere to, and provides a level playing field across business’ in the industry, as organisation’s that apply ISO 220000 are all working to the same standards.
From national to international scope
The initial aim of ISO 22000 certification is to ensure that a business’ food safety practices comply with local and national regulations. However, as ISO 22000 standards is an internationally recognised food safety standard, it also has the added advantage of allowing local business’ to think about expanding the scope of their business.
There are three core objectives in any food safety management system for business’:
- To improve business processes, such as through solidifying business reputation through continually adhering to high standards, and increase profit margins by attracting new customers who are impressed by your reputation.
- To increase the efficiencies of all business practices, such as streamlining complicated processes and improving safety conditions to minimise downtime and absenteeism.
- Reducing risks to business operations, such as those associated with food contaminations, outbreaks, and so on. This includes ensuring that adequate hygiene facilities are onsite, staff are provided a safe, hygienic work environment that meets industry standards, and so on.
ISO 22000 standards will support your business to achieve these three interrelated goals, which in turn will help give it the edge it needs to become a leader in the food industry.
Anitech Group can help prepare your business for these challenges
For those in the business of food preparation, it also pays to be prepared in other ways. If you would like to discuss safeguarding your business and its assets, by certifying to the ISO 22000 standard, then please contact our safety systems consultants on 1300 802 163. The key to success is good preparation, and they will be able to walk you through the process of implementing IS0 22000, how it can benefit your business specifically, and how its features can help your organisation not only get the edge, but keep it.