FSSC 22000 Ultimate Guide For Beginners: FSSC 22000 Certification, Training & More

Published on:
May 15, 2024
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Food safety is an important part of the food industry since it impacts customers' health and well-being, as well as companies' reputation and revenue. 

However, guaranteeing food safety is a difficult process.

This is due to the fact that it involves conforming to complicated and changing rules and standards, as well as managing diverse risks and dangers along the food supply chain. 

This is why businesses are encouraged to earn globally recognized certifications. Doing so allows them to show their dedication and expertise in food safety management.

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What is FSSC 22000?

FSSC is an abbreviation for Food Safety System Certification.

It is a globally recognized certification that ensures food safety across the whole food supply chain. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has acknowledged FSSC 22000.

The FSSC 22000 standard specifies manufacturing and management methods to assure uniformity, transparency, and safety throughout the whole supply chain. From farmers to retailers, the standard applies to all companies in the food and beverage business.

By satisfying the criteria and obtaining FSSC 22000 certification, you show that your firm adheres to food quality standards and implements systems to control and decrease the risks presented by food fraud, foodborne disease, expensive recalls, and other external threats.  

The History and Development of FSSC 22000

The Foundation for Food Safety Systems Certification (FSSC) established the FSSC 22000 standard in response to the worldwide food sector's requirement for an independent ISO-based food safety scheme for third-party audits and certification of their Food Safety Management System.

The non-profit Foundation for Food Safety Certification, which has its headquarters in the Netherlands, worked with a number of key food industry players, including producers, retailers, accrediting authorities, certification bodies, and specialists, to establish FSSC 22000. 

In order to develop a standardized FSMS that would satisfy the demands and standards of the international food industry, the Foundation for Food Safety Certification was founded in 2004.

This leads us to look into how FSSC 22000 has evolved over time.


FSSC 22000 was released in its first edition. The technical specifications for PRPs for food producers, PAS 220:2008 and ISO 22000:2005, served as its foundations.


GFSI declared that FSSC 22000 was on par with other GFSI-benchmarked schemes.


Instead of PAS 220:2008, ISO/TS 22002-1:2009 (a technical standard for PRPs for food producers) was added to FSSC 22000.


In order to conform to ISO 22000:2018—the most recent iteration of ISO 22000—and ISO/TS 22002-1:2009, FSSC 22000 was modified. By adding more technical requirements for PRPs pertinent to each business, it also broadened its scope to include other food-related industries, including catering, retail, transport and storage, feed manufacturing, animal production, fishing boats, etc.

The Current Edition: 2020

After some minor revisions and clarifications to version 5.0, which was released in June 2019, FSSC 22000 is now available in version 5.1. To maintain the integrity and uniformity of the certification process, version 5.1 also adds a few additional criteria for auditors and certification authorities.

Why FSSC 22000?

The FSSC 22000 Standard was created to provide food-related businesses with an ISO-based food safety management system accreditation that is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). GFSI certification ensures global recognition and acceptance by food producers and retailers. 

FSSC 22000 specifies criteria for integrated processes that collaborate to regulate and reduce food safety risks. FSSC 22000 is a rapidly expanding certification process that has granted over 30,000 certifications globally.

Once a facility has implemented procedures that meet all of the standards of FSSC 22000, it may be certified. The Foundation for Food Safety Certification oversees the certification program.

What Does FSSC 22000 Cover? 

Everything You Need To Know About FSSC Training, Certification and  Compliance

FSSC 22000 is intended to be comprehensive, including all aspects of the food and beverage supply chain to assure end-to-end safety. It addresses the following topics: 

  • Production of animal goods such as meat, milk, eggs, and honey                                           
  • Production of fish and other seafood                                                                                                 
  • Processing of perishable plant, animal, and mixed items 
  • Producing long-lasting items
  • Catering                                                                                                                                              
  • Retail and wholesale                                                                                                                                    
  • Transportation and storage of both perishable and non-perishable food and feed                                                                                                   
  • Food packaging material production 
  • Biochemical production 

In other words, an FSSC 22000 certification assures that every step of a food product's manufacturing is risk-managed, providing comprehensive protection for your business and peace of mind for the end customer. 

FSSC Specific Requirements

  • FSSC 22000 Logo: The FSSC 22000 logo can be used by certified companies. Subject to the following design requirements, it may be used on the organization's website, printed materials, and other promotional materials.

When all other text and images are in black and white, using a black-and-white logo is acceptable.

The use of the FSSC logo on a product, its packaging, or in any other way implying that FSSC 22000 has approved a method, good, or service is prohibited. 

When filing an NC against the FSSC, there are three potential grade levels: minor, major, and critical nonconformities. The audit report will include the precise timeline for managing NC and will be sent to the organization at the time of each visit (if needed). 

When the finding has little impact on the management system's capacity to provide the desired outcomes, a minor nonconformity will be reported.

When the findings influence the management system's capacity to provide the desired outcomes, a Major NC will be given; in the event that the audit directly concerns food safety or when the integrity of the certification is in jeopardy, a Critical NC will be issued.

  • Termination of certification agreement: The FSSC 22000 certificate will be immediately revoked if a certified company is unable to satisfactorily resolve a significant nonconformity within the time limit that NQA has set. A Critical NC will also be raised if the deadline for a Major NC is not met. If a minor nonconformity is reported and an action plan is not completed within the allotted period, a major nonconformity may also be raised.
  • FSSC 22000: Part 1: Organizations needing certification requirements You may get this paper for free at www.fssc22000.com.
  • ISO 22000:2018 outlines the requirements for food chain organizations to have food safety management systems in place.

Conditions for Program Requirements

  • ISO/TS 22002-1: Prerequisite programs on food safety – Part 1: Food Manufacturing is used by food processors. accessible via Techstreet.com or www.iso.ch 
  • The ISO/TS 22002-2 Food Packaging is used by caterers. When producing and supplying food packaging, manufacturers adhere to ISO/TS 22002-4 - Prerequisite programs and design standards for food safety. Acquired from shop.bsigroup.com 
  • The PAS 222 - Prerequisite programs are used by producers or suppliers of animal food, feed, or ingredients in the manufacturing process. Acquired from shop.bsigroup.com

Key Components of FSSC 22000 Certification

The three primary components of FSSC 22000 certification are the management system requirements, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), and PRPs:

  • Prerequisite Programs (PRPs) are the fundamental requirements and actions necessary to maintain a clean environment in which food is produced. They cover things like waste management, equipment upkeep, cleaning and sanitation, pest control, and employee hygiene. The technical requirements for each segment of the food industry, such as ISO/TS 22002-1 for food manufacturers and ISO/TS 22002-4 for manufacturers of food packaging, form the foundation for PRPs.
  • HACCP is a systematic approach to detecting, evaluating, and controlling food safety hazards—chemical, biological, or physical agents that could harm consumers—as well as putting control mechanisms in place to either avoid or lower them to acceptable levels. Seven principles are involved in HACCP:
  • Performing a hazard analysis
  • Identifying the critical control points (CCPs)
  • Setting critical limits
  • Keeping an eye on CCPs
  • Implementing remedial measures
  • Confirming the HACCP system's efficacy
  • Recording and documenting the HACCP system
  • ISO 22000, the organizational and operational components required to guarantee the successful adoption and upkeep of the FSMS, are known as management system requirements. They are based on ISO 22000, which lists the prerequisites for an FSMS, including the following:
  • Dedication and leadership

What are the Benefits of FSSC 22000?

Everything You Need To Know About FSSC Training, Certification and  Compliance

Avoiding Risk

Building a GFSI Benchmarked System will, first and foremost, provide your business the ability to manage food safety threats effectively by establishing a production environment that can yield safe products and a management system that can be continuously managed, monitored, validated, and improved.

Keep Existing Customers

According to statistics, around one in four certified businesses request that their suppliers become certified. If you haven't been asked yet, there's a good chance you will be soon. By beginning your certification process, you may maintain your competitiveness and your ability to operate with your present clientele.

Expand The Size of Your Market

Additionally, big-box stores and international producers or processors are requesting that their suppliers be certified. Possessing certification from FSSC, SQF, or BRCGS implies that you are eligible to supply these companies or their vendors, potentially expanding the market for your goods.

Prepare For Regulatory Changes

Food safety laws are being changed by nations all around the world, notably the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in the US. SQF and FSSC assist in setting up your company to comply with the majority of FSMA regulations.

ISO 22000 vs FSSC 22000

International standards ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 both address the key elements in guaranteeing food safety.

Two very comparable certification programs are essential to guaranteeing food products of the highest quality and safety. 

The two systems are extremely similar since the FSSC 22000 method requires ISO 22000 for the management system.

The Pre-Requisite Program (PRP), or universal processes used to govern the operational conditions in food factories, and the unique needs of the FSSC to assure consistency, integrity, and administration of the system itself are among the extra requirements included in the FSSC 22000.

The primary distinction between the two certifications is that, as opposed to the ISO standard, the FSSC 22000 method is accepted by the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative). The GFSI's approval indicates that the program satisfies the most stringent international criteria, paving the way for adoption by the global food sector.

Updating from ISO 22000 to FSSC 22000 

Moving to FSSC 22000 is a simple, affordable, and very valuable procedure if you are already ISO 22000 certified. 

With a few tweaks, ISO 22000 serves as the foundation for FSSC 22000.

This means that your Certification Body may save a lot of time by scheduling your FSSC 22000 audit to coincide with an earlier ISO 22000 audit. Then, the ISO 22000 certification will be upgraded to FSSC 22000.

This will include meeting the FSSC's specific requirements to ensure consistency, integrity, and system management, as well as the Pre-Requisite Program (PRP), which are universal procedures used to control the operating conditions in food factories.

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognizes the FSSC 22000 scheme, which is the primary distinction between the two certifications; this is in contrast to the ISO standard.

The worldwide food business accepts the program because it satisfies the highest requirements, as shown by its GFSI approval.

How to Obtain FSSC 22000 Certification

  1. Preparing for Certification

The first stage in gaining FSSC 22000 certification is to prepare for it by developing and implementing an FSMS that fulfills the FSSC 22000 standards. This involves the following:

  • Conducting a gap analysis to examine the FSMS's present condition and find any gaps or opportunities for improvement.
  • Creating PRPs based on the technical parameters of each food business sector.
  • Implementing HACCP based on the seven hazard analysis and control concepts.
  • Creating a solid management system based on ISO 22000 standards and the PDCA cycle.
  1. Engaging Certification Bodies

The next stage in acquiring FSSC 22000 certification is to work with an approved certification organization to examine and audit the FSMS. This entails:

  • Choosing a certification organization that has been approved by the Foundation for Food Safety Certification and is recognized by an International Accreditation Forum (IAF) member.
  • Apply for certification with the selected certification organization and supply the required FSMS information and documents.
  • Going through an evaluation step, which includes a document review and an on-site visit by the certifying organization. This is to ensure that the FSMS meets the standards of FSSC 22000.
  • Going through an audit stage, which includes an initial certification audit (a two-stage assessment that examines the FSMS's implementation and effectiveness) and subsequent surveillance audits (periodic audits that monitor the FSMS's continuous compliance with FSSC 22000 criteria).
  1. Maintaining Certification and Continuous Improvement

The last stage in acquiring FSSC 22000 certification is to keep it by adhering to FSSC 22000 criteria. This entails:

  • The following defined procedures and processes are used to maintain PRPs, HACCP, and management system standards.
  • Monitoring and measuring FSMS performance and outcomes on a continual basis, such as food safety indicators, customer feedback, audit findings, and so on.
  • Internal audits and management reviews are carried out to assess the efficacy and applicability of the FSMS and to suggest areas for improvement.
  • Taking corrective and preventative activities to resolve any FSMS nonconformities or possible nonconformities and prevent their recurrence or occurrence.
  • Keeping abreast of any modifications or revisions to FSSC 22000 requirements and applying them as needed.

Final Thoughts

Everything You Need To Know About FSSC Training, Certification and  Compliance

Internal audits and inspections are one of the fundamental criteria of FSSC 22000. This will assist in verifying the FSMS's compliance and efficacy, as well as identifying any areas for improvement. 

Managing internal audits and inspections, on the other hand, can prove difficult and time-consuming, particularly for large firms with various locations, divisions, and procedures. 

That is why numerous businesses implement Xenia, a safety audit and inspection solution that simplifies and streamlines internal audit and inspection administration.

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