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

Published on:
May 15, 2024
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We depend on food for our health and survival. Since consuming food is an essential part of our day-to-day life, the food industry is always in high demand and under serious scrutiny. 

Therefore, anyone involved in the food industry have certain food safety standards to maintain in order to ensure that there are minimum hazards associated with the end product.

Speaking of food safety hazards, there are 4 common hazards the food industry needs to consider. 

  • Microbiological Dangers: Tiny things like bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
  • Chemical Dangers: Things like pesticides, cleaning products, pest control chemicals, and additives in food.
  • Physical Dangers: Stuff like packaging, glass, pest droppings, and hair.
  • Allergens & Cross-Contamination: Using ingredients that can cause allergies and making sure different foods don't mix in a way that's not safe.

Following food safety standards is important to ensure the food we eat is good quality and safe.

Most of the food we eat goes through many steps before it gets to us. That's why it's super important to be careful when making, moving, and delivering food.

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Making sure our food is safe to eat, both in terms of cleanliness and avoiding harmful bacteria, is crucial.

If we don't follow food safety rules, people could get seriously sick. It could hurt the reputation of the company, result in big fines, and, in really serious cases, even make the company close down.

So, there are various food safety standards and regulations that food businesses have to follow to ensure safe food consumption by their customers. In this article, we will get to know about FSSC training, certification, and compliance. Also, learn the difference between ISO and FSSC 22000. 

Introduction to FSSC 22000

FSSC 22000 stands out as a certification program dedicated to managing food safety, created and managed by the Foundation FSSC 22000 and Boards of Stakeholders from various sectors in the food industry. 

Food Safety Certification ensures that companies in the food industry can always handle risks well and provide safe products. Getting FSSC 22000 certified, which is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), is like putting a big stamp on your commitment to being really good at keeping food safe. It shows you're excellent at making sure what you produce is always safe to eat.

Having an FSSC certificate is more than a badge—it's a statement to your customers that your food safety program is not only reliable but also held to the highest standards.

Understanding FSSC Certification

FSSC, or FSSC 22000, is like a gold standard for making sure the food we eat is safe. It's a special certification that combines three important standards: ISO 22000, ISO 22002-1 (for food manufacturing), and ISO 22002-4 (for packaging manufacturing).

Think of it as a big stamp of approval that shows a company is good at keeping our food safe. It's recognized globally, which is great for companies that make food using advanced technology and work internationally.

Big companies might like FSSC because it's based on ISO 17021. It allows them to save money on checking different sites. If a company is already certified to ISO 22000, getting FSSC certified is easy and doesn't need long or expensive audits. 

Why Become FSSC 22000 Certified?

  • The people who manage FSSC are completely independent, so there's no outside pressure.
  • Food buyers from around the world accept and appreciate FSSC.
  • FSSC meets super high standards set by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).
  • Having a system that looks at both inside and outside food safety risks can make a company stand out.
  • Being certified helps create a strong food safety culture within a company.
  • If a company already has ISO 9001, ISO 14001, or ISO 22000, switching to FSSC is easy and doesn't cost much.

The Transition from ISO 22000 vs FSSC 22000

Over 30,000 food organizations worldwide have earned FSSC certification. It's a solid standard developed by experts that focuses on making food safety better and better.

ISO 22000 is a standard for managing food safety, covering important principles. Now, FSSC 22000, is like ISO's cousin but with two extra cool things. 

For starters, it got a thumbs-up from the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), making businesses with FSSC 22000 more likely to find new opportunities nationally and internationally. 

Secondly, FSSC 22000 has a strong integrity program, making sure it keeps its promise of trust in the food industry.

The FSSC Training Process

Training in food safety is crucial as it plays a key role in ensuring the well-being of consumers and the reputation of food-related businesses. Properly trained individuals have the complete knowledge and skills needed to handle food safely, preventing contamination and minimizing the risk of foodborne illnesses. 

Types of FSSC Training Programs 

The types of FSSC (Food Safety System Certification) training programs available can vary, but generally, they cover essential aspects related to food safety management systems. Here are some common types of FSSC training programs:

  • FSSC 22000 Introduction Training

Provides a basic understanding of the FSSC 22000 standard, its structure, and key requirements. It's suitable for individuals who are new to FSSC and want to grasp the fundamentals.

  • FSSC 22000 Internal Auditor Training

Focuses on developing the skills needed to conduct internal audits within an organization. Participants learn how to assess compliance and identify areas for improvement in food safety management systems.

  • FSSC 22000 Lead Auditor Training

Helpful for individuals who want to become certified lead auditors. It provides more in-depth auditing techniques, documentation, and the entire certification process.

  • FSSC 22000 Implementation Training

Designed for professionals involved in implementing FSSC 22000 within their organizations. It covers the steps and best practices for successfully establishing and maintaining a food safety management system.

  • Advanced Food Safety Training

Some programs go beyond FSSC specifics and offer advanced training on various food safety topics. These trainings include microbiological aspects, risk assessment, and emerging trends in food safety.

  • Customized In-House Training

Some training providers offer customized programs as per the specific needs of a company. 

  • Refresher Courses

Periodic refresher courses are available to keep professionals updated on any changes to the FSSC standards, regulations, and best practices in food safety.

When considering FSSC training, it's important to choose a program that aligns with the specific needs and roles of the participants. 

Also, the training should be based on the latest version of the FSSC standard to ensure relevance and compliance. Training providers often include accredited bodies, consultancy firms, and organizations specializing in food safety education.

3 Major Components of FSSC 22000

Below are 3 main elements of FSSC 22000;

  1. ISO 22000

ISO 22000 is the basic standard for Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS). It's like the foundation, but just having this isn't enough. You need to get the special FSSC 22000 recognition from the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

  1. PRP or Prerequisite Programmes

PRP is about making sure your business has certain things in place before it can get the FSSC 22000 stamp. It includes stuff like how your building is set up, how it's cleaned and maintained, what information is on your products, how your staff keeps things clean, and even systems to prevent food fraud. 

  1. FSSC 22000 Additional Requirements

These are extra things you need to do to make sure your food is safe. It involves adhering to regulations, managing the people who handle food safety, and keeping records of important things like utilities, transportation, and maintenance.

So, in simple terms, it's like building a strong house. ISO 22000 is the base, PRP is making sure the house has the right features, and the additional requirements are like adding extra safety measures to make sure everything is top-notch.

Applicability of FSSC 22000 Certification on Food Sectors

  • Farming fish and seafood/raising animals for meat, egg, or honey production. 
  • Products like meat, eggs, dairy, and fish.
  • Fresh fruits, juices, nuts, grains, and pulses.
  • Mixed plant and animal products like dumplings, ready-to-eat meals, sandwiches, lasagna, and pizza.
  • Food products stored at room temperature, like drinking water, snacks, sugar, pasta, flour, bread, canned foods, and more.
  • Producing the following animal and pet food items: 
  • Feed from a single or mixed food source (for non-food and food-producing animals).
  • Pet food for other pets.
  • Providing catering services to consumers, such as restaurants, hotels, cafeterias, canteens, coffee shops, event catering, and food trucks.
  • Providing retail/wholesale goods for consumption.
  • Providing transport and storage services for perishable food/feed and ambient stable food/feed and packaging materials.
  • Producing food packaging materials. 
  • Producing biochemicals like vitamins, minerals, enzymes, bio-cultures, processing aids, flavorings, and food/feed additives.

How to Get Certified for FSSC 22000 In 5 Easy Steps

Step 1: Begin by evaluating whether FSSC 22000 certification is essential for your business and if it offers tangible benefits.

Explore internationally recognized food safety standards like ISO 22000 or the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, considering the requirements preferred by your business partners.

Step 2: Form a dedicated team comprising individuals from various departments who have a complete understanding of your business operations.

Their knowledge should be needed for identifying necessary changes to align with FSSC 22000 requirements.

Step 3: Familiarize the team with the FSSC 22000 certification scheme and its three main components. Understanding how these components relate to your business is key to effective implementation.

Step 4: Conduct internal audits to bridge the gaps between existing processes and certification requirements. Use an FSSC internal audit checklist to identify and address areas needing improvement.

Provide refresher training on food safety to ensure employees are aligned with the certification preparations.

Step 5: Initiate the certification process by reaching out to a reputable third-party certification body. Choose an organization recognized for its expertise in certifying businesses for FSSC 22000 to guide your certification journey.

FSSC 22000 Requirements

  • Identify internal and external food safety issues.
  • Formulate a food safety policy.
  • Establish a dedicated food safety team.
  • Implement a hazard control plan.
  • Develop a food safety management system addressing FSSC 22000 and ISO 22000 requirements.
  • Address PRP requirements by implementing food safety practices.
  • Develop procedures and monitoring protocols for operational prerequisite programs (OPRPs) and critical control points (CCPs).
  • Create and monitor food safety targets.
  • Implement food fraud prevention and food defense plans.
  • Conduct a hazard analysis (a prerequisite of HACCP).
  • Plan ways to respond to food safety emergencies.
  • Train staff to understand food safety rules and best practices.
  • Enhance external and internal food safety issue communication.
  • Evaluate and monitor suppliers.
  • Implement an allergen management program.
  • Verify PRPs and hazard control plans.
  • Perform internal audits of the FSMS.

Fulfilling all these requirements can be efficiently achieved using the Xenia food safety management system.

It helps organizations create a system that aligns with FSSC 22000 rules quickly and easily such as managing task work orders, audits and inspections, temperature monitoring, proper documentation, and more. 

Documentation Requirements

To meet the FSSC 22000 requirements, companies in the food and beverage industry are required to create the following documentation for certification:

  • Allergen management plan
  • Emergency plan
  • Food defense plan
  • Food Fraud Vulnerability Plan
  • Food safety improvement plan
  • Food safety policy
  • FSMS, HACCP system, or management manual
  • Hazard control plan
  • Procedures
  • Records for OPRP and CCP monitoring
  • Registers for nonconformances and corrective action

Xenia & FSSC 22000 Standardization In Food Businesses

Xenia is a robust platform designed to automate food safety processes and daily operations. It offers a streamlined approach to ensure compliance with FSSC, HACCP, and FSMA standards. 

You can get an FSSC 22000 audit checklist management. It is used to evaluate and confirm compliance with the FSSC 22000 certification standards.

This audit checklist examines different aspects, essential for adhering to food safety and quality standards.

Why use Xenia for FSSC Audit?

  • Operations Templates: Customize checklists to match the specific requirements and criteria outlined in FSSC 22000 standards.
  • Task Orders: Assign and monitor audit-related tasks for timely completion and adherence to FSSC 22000 standards.
  • Reporting Capabilities: Generate comprehensive reports to evaluate audit outcomes, identify changes, and push continual improvement.
  • Collaboration Hub: Facilitates seamless communication and collaboration among team members involved in FSSC 22000 compliance.

Other Food Safety-Related Checklists

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Benefits of Becoming FSSC 22000 Certified

While FSSC 22000 may seem a bit challenging, there are good reasons to go for this certification. Here are five important ones:

  1. Better at Handling Risks: FSSC certification helps you manage food safety risks in a standardized way, preventing big problems.
  2. Keep More Customers: When you follow FSSC 22000, it tells customers your food is safe and high-quality. This boosts their trust, keeping them coming back and telling others about your good food.
  3. Sell Everywhere: FSSC 22000 is recognized worldwide, so you can sell your products internationally. It opens up new markets and potentially brings in more money.
  4. Work Smarter: Once certified, you can quickly deliver products without extra inspections. It saves plenty of time and also makes your work more efficient.
  5. Less Food Safety Issues: Following FSSC 22000 helps reduce cases of people getting sick from unsafe food, which is a big deal. It's a commitment to keeping your food consistently safe.

Use Cases of an FSSC 22000 Audit Checklist

  1. Quality Assurance Teams

Quality assurance teams can use the checklist for internal audits for consistent compliance with FSSC 22000 standards over time.

  1. Certification Bodies

Certification bodies can utilize the checklist as a valuable guide during official audits.

  1. Food Safety Managers

Food safety managers can use the checklist for ongoing monitoring of food safety measures.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is FSSC 22000 GFSI Recognized?

FSSC 22000 is a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), based on International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards.

It is a recognized food safety scheme and is also supported by the European Food and Drink Association (CIAA) and the American Groceries Manufacturing Association (GMA). 

What Are the Key Differences Between ISO 22000 vs. FSSC 22000?

ISO 22000 is a general food safety management standard, while FSSC 22000 is a specific certification scheme based on ISO 22000 but with additional requirements, offering a more detailed approach. 

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