The safety of food is one of the key factors in the food sector. Both consumers and health authorities demand that the food we consume offer high levels of quality and safety throughout the entire production chain and until its consumption by people. If there is a problem, it is necessary to identify its causes quickly and solve it as soon as possible. Therefore, there is a wide range of regulations and a large number of certifications that can guarantee food safety so that its consumption is suitable for certain consumer groups.
The certifications are documents that certify the fulfillment by the applicant organization of a series of requirements that may be of a legal or regulatory nature, as well as a voluntary nature.
Next, we will analyze the food certificates that we consider most interesting and we will present them in an order that goes from the most generalist point of view to the most specific ones within the food sector, specifying those that facilitate entry into certain markets.
ISO 9001 is an internationally recognized quality management system (QMS) standard. It is a world leader in SGC, surpassing one million certificates worldwide.
This standard is applicable to any organization, regardless of its size, sector or activity, or geographic location. By focusing on processes and customer satisfaction rather than procedures, it is equally applicable to both service providers and manufacturers.
Thanks to this norm, a series of principles are transmitted as:
- Commitment to its shareholders
- Good reputation in terms of the organization
- Customer-oriented management
- Competitive advantage
ISO 22000 is the international standard for food safety management systems for the entire supply chain, from farmers and ranchers to processors. It involves interactive communication, system management and prerequisite programs (PPR).
ISO 22000 focuses on securing the supply chain, has principles of integrated management systems and is aligned with the HACCP principles of the Codex Alimentarius and other ISO standards of management systems.
The most outstanding benefits when getting this certificate are:
- Facilitate compliance with legislation:
- Regulation 852/2004 "Hygiene of food products" (HACCP)
- Regulation 178/2002 "Traceability and Food Safety"
- Regulation 183/2005 "Hygiene of feed" (HACCP)
- Improves consumer confidence in products.
- Incorporates greater control of risks for food safety.
FSSC 22000 is a food safety scheme based on the ISO 22000, ISO 22002 and BSI PAS 220 standards, which specify the guidelines to follow in a management system to ensure the safety of food.
The Foundation for Food Safety Certification has developed this certificate based on the UNE-EN ISO 22000 standard and the British PAS 220 specification for the certification of food manufacturers.
It is supported by the European Confederation of Food and Beverage Industries (CIA), and is approved by the Global Food Safety Initiative, GFSI (Global Initiative for Food Safety)
BRC Global Standard for Food Safety
BRC Global Standard for Food Safety is a certification standard that includes the requirements of an HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control) system in accordance to the Codex Alimentarius. This standard also covers a documented quality management system, as well as the control of requirements of the environmental conditions of the facilities, products, processes, and personnel.
BRC enjoys international recognition, and was developed with the aim of helping distributors comply with the legal obligations of food safety and guarantee the highest level of protection for the consumer.
IFS (International Featured Standards)
IFS Food was created with the aim of obtaining a common quality and food safety standard. In this way, food manufacturers or food packaging companies are audited to optimize resources and guarantee transparency throughout the food preparation process. Both IFS and the BRC certification are essential for food suppliers in the food distribution sector.
This standard allows access to the food markets of the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy.
GLOBAL GAP is a private organization responsible for establishing a series of voluntary standards with which you can certify products from the primary sector. These standards cover the entire production process of the product.
Some of the benefits of obtaining this certificate is that it shows customers (distributors, intermediaries, importers) that the products are made based on good agricultural practices, which also inspires confidence in consumers and guarantees access to other markets.
Halal certification is a process of quality assurance applied to foods, products and services that follow the Halal Regulations.
This certification, which is granted by the Halal Institute, guarantees that the products do not include or contain in their composition anything that is considered illegal by Islamic law, and that these are prepared, processed, transported and stored using means that are exempt from any element prohibited by said law. In addition, it guarantees that the products have not been in direct contact with other foods that do not meet these requirements.
Kosher certification proves that the products obtained respect the precepts of the Jewish religion, and therefore are considered pure and fit to be ingested by practitioners of that religion. It covers everything from the composition and ingredients of the product to the production process, paying special attention to the preparation and cleaning of the machinery used in the preparation.
Kosher certification is a tool for differentiation and competitive positioning at an international level, in a market characterized by constant growth. This certification is important to promote the export of food products to countries where an important Jewish community is living or living.
This certificate guarantees that the ingredients of the product to be analyzed are not genetically modified, that is, they are not GMO (Genetically Modified Foods)
The norm around this certification ranges from the seed, through to the process of growth and harvest, transport, collection, storage and processing in the market channel. The companies in charge of issuing the certification can certify independently of the quality management systems. The certification also includes verification of the legal requirements related to the labeling and monitoring of GMOs or in Spanish OGM (Genetically Modified Organisms)
These are the most important certificates of the food industry, which serve as a tool to ensure a good quality management system and that the information reaches the final consumer in a transparent manner.