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FSSC 22000 Certification

In today’s world, food safety has become an increasingly important concern for consumers. As a result, food manufacturers are under greater scrutiny to ensure the safety and quality of their products. In India, one way to address this concern is through the Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000. This globally recognized certification scheme provides assurance to consumers and customers that a company’s food products are safe and meet the highest standards in the industry. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of FSSC 22000 certification in India and why it is essential for food companies to implement this standard.

I. Introduction

Explanation of FSSC 22000 Certification

FSSC 22000 Certification is a complete scheme for Food Safety Management Systems that aligns with the ISO Management System approach and the ISO Harmonized Structure. The FSSC 22000 scheme is developed through open consultation with global stakeholders and uses international and independent standards such as ISO 22000, ISO 9001, ISO/TS 22003, and technical specifications for sector-specific Pre-Requisite Programs (PRPs) including ISO/TS 22002-1. This scheme provides assurance to the food supply chain by ensuring compliance with food safety standards and processes. Compliance is monitored by the FSSC Integrity Program, certification bodies, and accreditation bodies to identify trends and define improvements. The FSSC 22000 Scheme is managed by Foundation FSSC and governed by an independent Board of Stakeholders comprising representatives from sectors across the food industry. The Scheme provides a certification model that can be used in the whole food supply chain to ensure food safety standards and processes. FSSC 22000 has been delivering impact on global food safety for over 12 years. Businesses can also use free documents to assess, develop, implement, and improve their food and feed safety management systems, even before applying for certification.

Importance of food safety in the consumer goods industry

In the fast-paced world of the consumer goods industry, food safety is of paramount importance. Consumers have the right to expect safe and high-quality products, and companies have a responsibility to ensure the safety and quality of their products. The consequences of failing to meet these expectations can be dire – from loss of reputation to costly recalls. This is where FSSC 22000 certification comes in – it provides an independent, ISO-based food safety management scheme that can help companies ensure the safety and quality of their products. By implementing the FSSC 22000 standards, companies can prioritize hazard identification and risk management, while also optimizing their resources and reducing costs. Additionally, FSSC 22000 certification can help companies build trust in their supply chain, ensure compliance with international standards, and distinguish themselves as leaders in their industry. Ultimately, food safety is not just a matter of compliance – it is a matter of ethics, responsibility, and providing consumers with the assurance that they can trust the products they purchase. 

Overview of FSSC as a non-profit and independent scheme owner

FC 22000 is a non-profit and independent scheme owner that is globally recognized for its certification of food safety management systems. As an ISO Management System based certification scheme, FSSC 22000 offers a certification Scheme for the auditing and certification of Food Safety Management Systems to ensure the provision of safe food, feed, and packaging to the consumer goods industry. FSSC 22000 is also known for its social sustainability management system certification called FSSC 24000. FSSC offers a range of programs for small and medium-sized organizations, including a Development Program that provides a two-level approach to support SMEs in producing safe food. The Foundation FSSC provides oversight, transparency, and industry involvement to ensure their schemes remain relevant and credible within the consumer goods industry. FSSC is a governing and approved body by an independent Board of Stakeholders. Additionally, FSSC has partnered with Accreditation Bodies worldwide and is associated with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). FSSC also provides trust through its multi-stakeholder governance by partnering with recognized Accreditation Bodies and the deployment of its Integrity Program, assuring the acceptable performance of Licensed Certification Bodies.

II. Benefits of FSSC 22000 Certification

Industry acceptance is one vital aspect of any certification scheme, and FSSC 22000 excels in both. The fact that FSSC 22000 holds both GFSI and IAF approval speaks clearly to its industry acceptance. This ensures that the certification is recognized internationally and accepted throughout industry supply chains, setting industry benchmarks for sourcing suppliers. Moreover, FSSC is governed and approved by an independent board of stakeholders, which ensures its credibility and reliability. The foundation also partners with recognized accreditation bodies worldwide to ensure transparency and informed decision-making for organizations seeking certification. FSSC also offers flexibility in implementation through a risk-based approach to meet the unique needs of diverse organizations. Small and medium-sized organizations (SMEs) also benefit from FSSC’s capacity building program. In summary, FSSC 22000 is not just a certification scheme; it provides trust, oversight, and ensures safe and fair working conditions in the consumer goods industry. With a wealth of experience providing accredited management systems certifications, NQA is ideally placed to partner with you to meet customer requirements and exceed industry expectations. 

Flexibility in implementation through a risk-based approach

Flexibility in implementation through a risk-based approach is an integral part of the FSSC 22000 certification scheme. This approach ensures that the specific risks faced by an organization are identified and managed in an appropriate manner. The risk-based approach also allows for a more practical and efficient system, as resources are directed towards areas that require more attention. This flexibility is particularly important for small and medium-sized organizations, who may not have the same resources as larger companies. By focusing on the specific risks, these organizations can ensure that their food safety management system is effective and appropriate for their needs. The risk-based approach also promotes continuous improvement, as organizations can review and adjust their system as needed. Overall, the flexibility of the FSSC 22000 certification scheme through a risk-based approach allows for a more tailored and effective food safety management system for organizations of all sizes. 

Support for small and medium-sized organizations

As a non-profit and independent scheme owner, FSSC recognizes the important role that small and medium-sized organizations (SMEs) play in the global food supply chain. We understand that capacity building is crucial to helping these businesses meet the food safety needs of their customers. That’s why we offer a development program that provides a two-level approach to supporting SMEs in producing safe food. We’ve aligned this program with CODEX HACCP GFSI Global Markets and incorporated elements of ISO 22000, ensuring that it fits into the FSSC 22000 structure. Additionally, the FSSC Development Program is designed to professionalize the food safety system of companies, making it particularly suitable for SMEs that want to meet customer food safety requirements or expand their market access. Startups and companies in emerging markets can also benefit from the program. Moreover, we provide a list of licensed partners that deliver FSSC certification worldwide, ensuring that SMEs have access to trusted certification integrity. At FSSC, we’re committed to helping small and medium-sized organizations meet the high standards of food safety that their customers demand. 

Compliance activities through the FSSC Integrity Program

Compliance is essential in the food industry, and the FSSC Integrity Program is there to support companies that want to certify their food safety management systems. The program provides extra activities to ensure that licensed certification bodies comply with scheme requirements, leading to trusted certification integrity. Assessment activities and performance measurements are carried out to monitor certification body compliance. The program gives additional assurance to companies that want to work with FSSC licensed certification bodies. The FSSC Integrity Program is an essential component of the FSSC 22000 certification scheme. It provides transparency and the peace of mind that the certification bodies licensed by FSSC comply with scheme requirements. Organizations can be confident that their certification will be impartial, competent, and reliable. Certified organizations become trusted partners in the food industry, and the FSSC Integrity Program helps to uphold that trust. It is crucial that food companies prioritize compliance for the health and safety of consumers, and the FSSC Integrity Program provides the necessary support to ensure they achieve it. 

Association with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF)

The FSSC 22000 Certification Scheme prides itself on being a non-profit and independent scheme owner that upholds the highest standards of technical rigor and industry acceptance. One aspect that sets the FSSC apart from other certification schemes is its association with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), a worldwide association of accreditation bodies and entities involved in conformity assessment. IAF is committed to developing a single worldwide program of conformity assessment that reduces risk for businesses and their customers by assuring them that accredited certificates and validation and verification statements can be relied upon. FSSC is a member of the IAF and an active member of its committees. This association helps ensure that FSSC operates to the highest level of competence and that its standards are applied consistently and equivalently across the world. This ultimately leads to increased trust and integrity in FSSC certificates issued by its accredited certification bodies. By upholding the standards and best practices set forth by the IAF, FSSC 22000 certified organizations can be confident that their certification is recognized internationally and meets the highest industry standards. 

IV. Steps for FSSC 22000 Certification in India

Preparing for certification

Preparing for FSSC 22000 certification can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be a smooth and rewarding process. The first step is to download the Scheme requirements from the FSSC website, which is free of charge, and complete a self-assessment against the requirements. You may want to seek the support of a licensed Training Organization for additional advice, but this is not mandatory. Next, you will need to contact an FSSC licensed Certification Body to arrange an audit for the relevant FSSC Scheme. You can also get additional advice from a licensed Training Organization at this stage. Once the audit is successful, the Certification Body will register the certificate, and you will have completed the first step towards FSSC 22000 certification. It is important to conduct regular surveillance audits to maintain compliance with the standards, and you should be prepared to take corrective actions if any non-conformities are identified during the audit. By following these steps and working with experienced consultants, you can be confident in your ability to achieve FSSC 22000 certification and improve your organization’s food safety and quality standards. 

Choosing a certification body

Choosing the right certification body is a crucial step in obtaining FSSC 22000 certification. It is recommended to select a certification body that is accredited by a recognized accreditation body and has experience in the food industry. It is also advisable to consider the reputation of the certification body and their level of technical competence. Additionally, it is important to consider the cost and the location of the certification body. Some certification bodies may charge a higher fee while others may be located far away, resulting in additional travel expenses. It is recommended to obtain quotes from multiple certification bodies and compare their offerings before making a final decision. Ultimately, the chosen certification body should provide a thorough and fair assessment of the organization’s food safety management system. By selecting a reputable certification body, organizations can ensure that their certification is recognized and respected in the industry. 

Conducting an initial audit

Conducting an initial audit is an important aspect of obtaining FSSC 22000 certification. This audit provides an assessment of your company’s food safety management system and determines whether it meets the standards required for certification. Before the audit, it is important to prepare your documentation, policies, and procedures to ensure they meet the requirements of the FSSC 22000 standard. During the audit, an experienced auditor will evaluate your system to identify any areas of concern or non-conformance, as well as provide recommendations for improvements. Corrective actions should be taken promptly to address any non-conformities discovered during the audit. The follow-up audit will assess the effectiveness of these corrective actions and determine whether your company is ready to receive certification. The initial audit can be a nerve-wracking experience, but if you have prepared adequately and taken corrective actions promptly, it will pave the way for success in the final certification audit. It is important to choose an experienced and accredited certification body to ensure your audit is conducted accurately and efficiently. 

Corrective actions and follow-up audits

After the initial audit for FSSC 22000 Certification, corrective actions may be necessary for non-conformance with the standard. Corrective actions involve identifying the root cause of the issue and implementing measures to prevent its recurrence. It is important to document these actions and their effectiveness to demonstrate compliance with the standard. Follow-up audits may be conducted to verify the effectiveness of corrective actions. These audits can either be conducted by the certification body or the organization’s internal audit team. It is important to note that corrective actions must be taken seriously, as failure to address non-conformities can lead to loss of certification. These follow-up audits provide an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of corrective actions taken by the organization. By ensuring that corrective actions are implemented and followed up, the organization can continuously improve its food safety management system and demonstrate its commitment to food safety. 

Re-certification audits

Re-certification audits are a crucial part of maintaining the validity of the FSSC 22000 certification. These audits evaluate an organization’s continued fulfillment of all the relevant management system standards or other normative documents. The reassessment process reviews past performance, examines documents and records, and evaluates the effectiveness of corrective and preventive actions. The majority of audit time is given to verify the effective implementation of the management system in the locations where the organization’s activities take place, including on-site audits of temporary sites. The Re-certification audit should be planned three months prior to the validity of the certificate to ensure continuity of certification in the likely event of any non-conformance found during the audit. In the case of a 9/6-monthly surveillance frequency, the Re-certification audit can be clubbed with the surveillance audit. The process of Re-certification involves an advance notice sent to the client. If there are changes like addition of new processes or regulatory requirements, or a new product or service addition, a Stage 1 audit is required to be conducted. The Re-assessment program ensures effective interaction between all elements of the system and audit activities, and a demonstrated commitment to maintain the effectiveness of the system. All areas/processes/clauses should be audited at least once in the last three-year cycle, and any non-conformities identified by TNV should be closed within 15 days of the Re-certification audit. 

V. Documents required for FSSC 22000 Certification in India

 1. Food safety manual
 2. Standard operating procedures (SOPs)
 3. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan
 4. Training records
 5. Product specifications
 6. Supplier approval records
 7. Traceability documentation
 8. Internal audit reports
 9. Corrective and preventive action (CAPA) records
 10. Management review records

VI. Advantages of FSSC 22000 Certification in India

 1. Improved food safety and quality standards
 2. Enhanced customer confidence and satisfaction
 3. Access to new markets and customers
 4. Increased competitiveness in the market
 5. Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements
 6. Reduced product recalls and liability risks
 7. Cost savings through improved efficiencies
 8. Improved supply chain management and accountability.

VII. Disadvantages of FSSC 22000 Certification in India

 1. Initial cost and time investment
 2. Ongoing maintenance and auditing costs
 3. Potential disruption to daily operations during the certification process
 4. Complexity and strict requirements of the certification process
 5. Possibility of negative impact on supply chain relationships.

VIII. Process of FSSC 22000 Certification in India

 1. Develop and implement a food safety management system.
 2. Conduct an internal audit to ensure compliance with FSSC 22000 requirements.
 3. Select a certification body accredited by the FSSC 22000 scheme.
 4. Schedule and undergo a certification audit.
 5. Address any non-conformances identified in the audit report.
 6. Receive certification if all requirements are met.

IX. Types of FSSC 22000 Certification in India

 1. FSSC 22000 for food manufacturers
 2. FSSC 22000 for packaging manufacturers
 3. FSSC 22000 for food transport and storage operations
 4. FSSC 22000 for food processing equipment manufacturers.

X. Frequently Asked Questions about FSSC 22000 Certification in India

1. What is FSSC 22000 certification?
 FSSC 22000 certification is a food safety management system certification that verifies compliance with global standards for food safety and quality.
2. How is FSSC 22000 different from other food safety certifications?
 FSSC 22000 is based on the ISO 22000 standard, but also incorporates additional requirements specific to the food manufacturing industry and is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).
3. Who can get FSSC 22000 certification?
 Any food manufacturer, packaging manufacturer, food transport or storage operation, or food processing equipment manufacturer can get FSSC 22000 certification.
4. How long does FSSC 22000 certification last?
 FSSC 22000 certification is valid for three years.
5. Does FSSC 22000 certification guarantee food safety?
 No certification can guarantee 100% food safety, but FSSC 22000 certification provides a framework and guidelines to minimize risks and ensure continuous improvement in food safety and quality management systems.