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FSSC 22000 for Food Packaging Material Manufacturing

Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) food safety certification schemes are becoming mandatory among food manufacturers worldwide to help ensure food safety at all levels of the supply chain. Many food producers have become increasingly focused on using packaging suppliers that comply with global standards and who are also implementing a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) program to fulfill certification requirements and gain access to large retailers.

fssc 22000 packaging imageFSSC 22000 has issued 1,200 certificates to food packaging manufacturers since they added a new scope for food packaging design and materials, making it a fast-growing GFSI benchmarked food safety certification scheme. FSSC 22000 is a Food Safety System Certification scheme based on ISO 22000 international standards and ISO TS 22002-4 for packaging (previously PAS 223). In 2013, the ISO TS 22002-4 document was added to provide the requirements for Prerequisite Programs that apply directly to the food packaging industry.

The FSSC 22000 standard focuses on several key safety-related elements:

  • Interactive communication that provides a structured flow of information to guarantee control of hazards
  • Prerequisite Programs (PRPs), like Good Manufacturing Practice, as detailed in the packaging specific ISO/TS 22002-4.
  • A Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Program to plan safe production processes

Other requirements for this packaging standard include: 

  • Management commitment
  • Internal audits
  • Facility conditions
  • Employee hygiene
  • Employee training
  • Control of incoming products
  • Traceability and recall
  • Pest control
  • Recordkeeping and documentation

Auditing and Certification for the FSSC 22000 Standard

Certification is aimed at manufacturers of packaging materials made of glass, paper and board, plastic and metal that come into direct contact with food.Certification is aimed at manufacturers of packaging materials made of glass, paper and board, plastic and metal that come into direct contact with food. There is an ongoing certification process, and packaging manufacturers under FSSC 22000 Scope M are required to demonstrate that they are aware of all of the international regulations that affect the product they are producing for a country. Packaging manufacturers are required to maintain procedures in the food safety management system, and provide up-to-date links and references to all relevant regulations.

The certification process for FSSC 22000 for packaging manufacturers consists of these general steps:

  1. Manufacturers can sign up for an optional “pre-audit” assessment which is useful in identifying weaknesses in systems and gaining confidence before the official audit
  2. The applicant is provided with a proposal based on the size and nature of their organization, and, once accepted, they can proceed with an audit
  3. Formal on-site audit occurs – all parts and processes are examined to determine compliance with every clause in the standard. Manufacturers receive a Corrective Action Report at the end of the audit and need to close non-conformities by providing evidence of action to the auditor
  4. Full recertification audits are scheduled at intervals that vary with level of certification. FSSC 22000 is the only scheme that has a three-year certification period.

Benefits from Choosing FSSC 22000 Packaging Standards

FSSC 22000 is a very comprehensive food safety management system standard, and so a majority of the benefits are related to its effective framework. It:

  • has the flexibility to allow organizations to choose the best way to control their own system while ensuring food safety policies are being met
  • includes details about how to conduct an effective HACCP plan
  • targets its focus on legal compliance and promotes continuous improvement in food safety
  • easily integrates with an organization’s existing management system

Food companies complying with any GFSI certifications are still expected to undergo the same process as any other manufacturers for meeting the food regulations of a country. But packagers that already have a food safety certification scheme will have a much easier time complying with mandatory requirements of international regulations, since the processes are already in place. Governments are still reluctant to endorse one global packaging standard over another under federal food safety laws, but the FSSC 22000 certification scheme is turning out to be increasingly mandatory for major food retailers worldwide.

For more information about FSSC 22000 for packagers, visit the FSSC 22000 website at www.fssc22000.com.

 

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