British Retail Consortium, BRC

The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 7 was published in January 2015, setting the latest benchmarks for best practice in food manufacture. Issue 7 will replace Issue 6 for all audits from the 1 July 2015.

Issue 7 has been developed to specify the food safety, quality and operational criteria required to be in place within a food manufacturing organisation to fulfil obligations with regard to legal compliance and protection of the consumer. The format and content of the Standard is designed to allow an assessment of a company’s premises, operational systems and procedures by a competent third party, the certification body, against the requirements of the Standard.

The latest issue of this BRC Global Standard focuses on:

  • ensuring consistency of the audit process
  • providing a Standard that is flexible enough to allow extra voluntary modules to reduce the audit burden
  • encouraging systems to reduce exposure to fraud
  • promoting greater transparency and traceability in the supply chain
  • encouraging adoption of the Standard in small sites and facilities where processes are still in development

Issue 7 focuses the audit towards the implementation of good manufacturing practices within production. Increased emphasis has been placed on areas which usually have the highest rate of recalls and withdrawals, such as labelling and packing. Issue 7 continues to highlight management commitment and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)-based food safety programmes. Support for quality management systems is another key focus.

Food Safety System Certification, FSSC 22000

What is FSSC 22000?

Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000) is the certification scheme for Food Safety Management Systems using the international and independent standards ISO 22000, ISO 22003 and technical specifications for sector PRPs, like ISO 22002-1 and PAS 223, which were developed through a wide and open consultation with a large number of related organizations.

This certification scheme is developed as a response to the need of the international food sector to have an independent ISO-based food safety scheme for third party auditing and certification for their Food Safety Management System. The FSSC 22000 certification scheme is supported by the European Food and Drink Association (CIAA) and the American Groceries Manufacturing Association (GMA). FSSC 22000 is fully recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and Accreditation Bodies around the world.

GMP

Good Manufacturing Practice / Good Distribution Practice

According to the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984, complaince to Good Manufacturing Practice is a pre-quisite for the application of a manufacturing license as well as product registration/ cosmetic notification.

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is a standard that should be followed by manufacturers of registered pharmaceutical/ traditional products and notified cosmetics to ensure that the product manufactured is safe, efficious and of quality.

Centre for Compliance and Licensing (CCL) is responsible for the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) inspections of manufacturers of registered products and notified cosmetics to ensure manufacturers compliance towards the current GMP requirements. CCL, with the assistance of the State Pharmacy Enforcement Division, is responsible for ensuring the importers and wholesalers of registered products adhere to the current Good Distribution Practice (GDP) requirements.

 

GMP guidelines are as below:

Guidelines Product Type / Category
PIC/S Guide to Good Manufacturing Practice for Medicinal Products Pharmaceuticals (Poison and Non-Poison) Veterinary Medicinal Products
GMP Guideline for Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements Traditional Products Health Supplements
Guidelines on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for Cosmetic (Annex 1, Part 9) Cosmetics
Guidelines on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for Veterinary Premixes Veterinary Premixes
Guidelines on Good Distribution Practice (GDP) For activities related to the storage and distribution by manufacturers, importers and wholesalers (where applicable)

 

GMP Certificate

GMP certificates are issued for the purpose of exportation of locally manufactured registered products. It endorses that the local manufacturer complies with the current GMP requirements. These certificates are required by the overseas regulatory agencies for products registration in their countries. Thus when filling in the GMP certificate application form, the correct address of overseas regulatory agencies given by the companies is crucial.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, HACCP

What is HACCP?

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is an internationally recognized system for reducing the risk of safety hazards in food.

A HACCP System requires that potential hazards are identified and controlled at specific points in the process. This includes biological, chemical or physical hazards.Any company involved in the manufacturing, processing or handling of food products can use HACCP to minimize or eliminate food safety hazards in their product.

 

Building a HACCP System

Implementing a HACCP System requires that both Prerequisite Programs and HACCP Plans are implemented.

Prerequisite programs are programs that are put in place in the facility to control hazards in the environment, preventing contamination of the product. Prerequisite programs ensure a hygienic environment, and good manufacturing processes for personnel that reduce the risk of contamination of the food product.

HACCP Plans are prepared for each process or product, and identify possible hazards and controls in place to make sure the hazards are eliminated or controlled to ensure acceptable levels in the food product.

 

Why use HACCP?

Awareness of food-borne illness is increasing and concern throughout the industry is driving the use of HACCP and HACCP based certification programs.

HACCP is based on seven principles:

Conduct a Hazard Analysis

This is where you evaluate your processes and identify where hazards can be introduced. Hazards can be physical (i.e. metal contamination), chemical (i.e. can a cleaning product contaminate the product, are there toxins that could contaminate the product?) or biological (at what points could bacteria or virus contaminate your product?). You will need to make sure that you have the expertise to make an accurate evaluation of the hazards. This means that if you do not have sufficient expertise in your organization you will need to identify external resources that you can use to perform the hazard analysis.

The hazard identification is done in two steps, first the identification of hazards, then an evaluation of the hazard. The hazard evaluation is a determination of the degree of risk to the user from the identified hazard. Once the hazard is identified and evaluated the team must identify critical control points. These are points where the hazard must be controlled or it will present a risk to the end user.

Identify the Critical Control Points

At what steps in your process can controls be applied to prevent or eliminate the hazards that have been identified? These are your critical control points. For each critical control point you will identify the preventive measure. How will you prevent the hazard?: Use of specific Temperature, ph, time, procedures?

Establish a maximum or minimum limit for temperature, time, pH, salt level, chlorine level or other processing characteristic that will control the hazard. This is the critical limit for the CCP. If this limit is ever exceeded corrective action must be taken, and all affected product controlled.

Establish Critical Limits

Your next step is to establish criteria for each critical control point. What criteria must be met to control the hazard at that point? Is it a minimum temperature? Are there regulatory limits that you must meet for this control point?

Establish Monitoring Procedures

What will you measure and how will you measure it? You need to monitor the process at the critical control point and keep records to show that the critical limits have been met. Can you do continuous monitoring of the control point? If not, how often will the measurements need to be performed to show that the process is under control?

The monitoring that takes place at the critical control points is essential to the effectiveness of the HACCP program. The monitoring program will be made up of physical measurement or observations that can be done in a timely manner, to provide the information in a time frame that allows you to take action and control product if an out of control situation occurs.

Establish Corrective Actions

You will establish what actions need to be taken if a critical limit is not met. This will be identified ahead of time for each CCP. The action must make sure that no unsafe product is released. There must also be an evaluation of the process to determine the cause of the problem and an elimination of the cause.

The action or actions taken have two purposes, to control any nonconforming product resulting from the loss of control, and to identify the cause, eliminate it and prevent the situation from reoccurring. By identifying the corrective action before an out of control situation occurs, you are prepared to take action quickly if and when it does occur.

Establish Record Keeping Procedures

You will determine what records are needed to show that the critical limits have been met, and the system is in control. Address regulatory requirements and include records from the development of the system and the operation of the system.

Establish Verification Procedures

The HACCP plan must be validated. Once the plan is in place, make sure it is effective in preventing the hazards identified. Test the end product, verify that the controls are working as planned. Perform ongoing verification of the system. Are measuring and monitoring equipment in control? What are corrective actions showing? Are records being maintained as required?

The Food Safety Management Systems reaches beyond the hazard analysis critical control point and also incorporates management systems principles similar to those found in ISO 9001. You will be building a system to manage quality and continual improvement throughout your organization. It will reach beyond the control systems that we have discussed above and into how you plan and manage quality into your organization.

  • Global market place
  • Increasing incidents of food-borne pathogens
  • New pathogens emerging
  • Need to protect Brands, control risks
  • Food Safety Management Systems

To protect themselves, multinational food manufactures, retailers and grocers are asking their suppliers to implement a Food Safety Management System.

The Global Food Safety Initiative, GFSI has benchmarked a number of Food Safety Management Systems Certification programs, all of which are HACCP based.

Benefits

The benefits of a certified HACCP system are as follows: –

  • to facilitate and expedite the issuance of Health Certificate which is not dependent on end product testing.
  • to reduce the frequency of regulatory inspection on food premises and sampling.
  • to enhance safety of food produced by food premises.
  • to fulfill global requirements on food safety including the application for Approval Number for the exporting of fish and fishery products to European Union.
  • to promote the acceptance, both in Malaysia and overseas, of food produced from food premises with certified HACCP system.
  • to improve marketability of the certified product.

Integrated Pest Management, IPM

What is IPM?

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a philosophy of pest control founded on the principles of ecology. In practice, it involves using several control tactics based on a knowledge of the crop, pests and associated natural enemies to avoid crop loss and minimize harmful effects on the environment. Implementing IPM requires an understanding not only of insect and mite biology and ecology but also of the entire orchard system. This includes the plants and animals that comprise the orchard community, as well as consideration of contributions from the surrounding habitat. The orchard system also takes into account financial, physical and human aspects of orchard operations.

IPM requires a more tolerant approach to pest control than traditional insecticide-based programs. Eliminating all insects and mites from the orchard is not the objective of IPM. Natural enemies are to be conserved as much as possible and some damage, especially to foliage, is tolerated. For example, pests that attack the foliage can usually be allowed to build to levels higher than those that attack the fruit.

There are both positive and negative impacts associated with the reduced insecticide use that usually accompanies the adoption of an IPM approach. Benefits of IPM include greater survival of natural enemies, slower development of resistance, less pest resurgence, fewer outbreaks of secondary pests, less negative impact on the environment, and greater worker safety. On the negative side, potential pests that are coincidentally controlled by insecticides used to control key pests may be released from all but natural controls. Natural controls will be effective for some. For others, however, the release from insecticidal control will result in population levels that are sometimes damaging. The transition to more intensive IPM programs in orchards will require knowledge and patience-knowledge of pest and natural enemy biology and patience to allow natural enemy build-up. Selective controls will have to be used for pests that are not maintained at acceptable levels by natural controls.

An IPM program involves:

  • Identifying pests, which requires knowledge of their biology and the damage they inflict.
  • Identifying the natural enemies of pests.
  • Understanding the biological and environmental factors that affect the abundance and distribution of pests and natural enemies.
  • Monitoring both pests and natural enemies to determine potential for damage and biological control.
  • Tolerating higher levels of pests, particularly foliage feeders.
  • Using a treatment threshold to decide when control is needed.
  • Knowing the efficacy of available control tactics, as well as their potential impact on non-target pests and natural enemies.
  • Building flexibility into the control program to allow for variations from block to block or year to year.
  • Follow-up to see how well control measures work and if further action is needed.

ISO 9001 : Quality management systems, QMS

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 QMS is the internationally recognised quality management system standard (QMS). ISO 9001 is the global benchmark for QMS, topping over one million certifications worldwide.

 

Who can use ISO 9001 QMS?

ISO 9001 is applicable to any organisation – irrespective of their size or geographical location. One of the major strengths of ISO 9001 is its wider appeal for all types of organisation. Because it focuses on processes and customer satisfaction rather than procedures, it is equally applicable to service providers as well as manufacturers.

Global sectors have also continued to focus their efforts on quality, with sector specific QMS derivatives of ISO 9001 available for the automotive, aerospace, defence and medical sectors.

 

Why is ISO 9001 important for your business?

ISO 9001 QMS provides the infrastructure, procedures, processes and resources needed to help organisations both monitor and improve their performance to drive efficiencies, client service and product excellence.

ISO adopters have higher rates of corporate survival, sales and employment growth.

ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, EMS

An ISO 14001 environmental management system is a systematic and process driven approach to controlling those aspects of your business that have a significant impact on the environment.

The system is proven to make business owners and managers be more aware of their environmental responsibilities, including legal and regulatory accountabilities, and being able to manage and control the associated risks.

An environmental management system can be applied to any business of any size, in any given sector, to demonstrate the company’s commitments to on-going environmental issues both on a local and national scale. More specifically it can help you reduce your waste and carbon footprint significantly, therefore lowering you environmental liability.

 

WHY ISO 14001 CERTIFICATION?

By obtaining ISO 14001 Certification you can prove to your stakeholders, customers and staff that you are aware of your environmental obligations and are looking to reduce your environmental impact. The main benefits of obtaining ISO 14001 are:

Benefits to you

  • Use the reduce, reuse and recycle approach to make tangible cost reductions as well the potential to reduce taxes and liability insurances
  • Enhance your company imageand improve your green credentials within the local community and to potential investors
  • Reduce the impact of your business activities on the environment through best practice management

Benefits to customers

  • Reassures customers who take an active interest in environmental performance that they are working with a company which promotes ashared environmental ethos
  • Proof that you are maintaining a forward thinking, environmentally aware organisation that fulfills its corporate social responsibility

Benefits to your staff

  • Increase the motivation of your environmentally conscious employees
  • Increase environmental awareness amongst the entire workforce
  • Actively reduces environmental risks and prevents incidents to both employees and the local environment

ISO 22000 Food Safety Management System, FSMS

What is ISO 22000?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed the ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Systems Standard.

Officially called ISO 22000, Food Safety Management Systems – Requirements for any organization in the food chain, ISO 22000 is an international standard and defines the requirements of a Food Safety Management Systems covering all organisations in the food chain from “farm to fork”, including catering and packaging companies.

There has been a continuous increase in consumer demand for safe food. This has led to the development of numerous food safety standards. The growing number of national standards for food safety management has led to confusion. Consequently, there is a need for international harmonization and ISO aims to meet this need with ISO 22000.

The standard combines generally recognized key elements to ensure food safety along the food chain including: interactive communication; system management; control of food safety hazards through pre-requisite programmes and HACCP plans; and continual improvement and updating of the management system.

ISO 22000 is intended to define the requirements for companies that desire to exceed the regulatory requirements for food safety.

 

Who should use the standard?

As food safety hazards may be introduced at any stages of the food chain, adequate control throughout the food chain is essential. Thus food safety is a joint responsibility that is principally assured through the combined efforts of all the parties participating in the food chain.

 

ISO 22000 may therefore apply to, and not be limited to: –

  • Primary food producers through to food manufacturers, including food processors
  • Retail and food service outlets
  • Feed producers
  • Transport operators and storage operators
  • Producers of equipment and packaging material
  • Producers of cleaning agents, additives and ingredients

Benefits to Users

Benefits to Organizations

  • Resource optimization – internally and along the food chain
  • More efficient and dynamic food safety hazard control
  • All control measures subjected to hazard analysis
  • Better planning, less post process verification
  • Improved documentation
  • Saves resources by reducing overlapping system audits – how?
  • Systematic management of prerequisite programmes
  • Control focused on what is necessary
  • Widely applicable because it is focused on end results
  • Organized and targeted communication among trade partners (repeated below)
  • Valid basis for taking decisions
  • Increased due diligence
  • Dynamic communication on food safety issues with suppliers, customers, regulators and other interested parties
  • A systematic and proactive approach to identification of food safety hazards and development and implementation of control measures.

Further Benefits

  • Confidence that the organizations which are implementing the standard have the ability to identify and control food safety hazards
  • Provides a reference for the whole food chain
  • Contributes to a better understanding and further development of Codex HACCP
  • System approach, rather than product approach
  • Fills a gap between ISO 9001 and HACCP
  • Provides a framework for third party certification
  • Auditable standard with clear requirements
  • Suitable for regulators
  • Provides potential for harmonization of National standards.

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