ISO Standards in the Food Industry
Did you know that food fraud exists?
The International Organization for Standardization website (iso.org) reports suggest that legit companies that deal with food retailing lose an average of fifteen billion every year as a result of food fraud.
How does food fraud happen?
When you go shopping, you check the details of an item from the container or the packet before purchase with the expectation that the contents inside are a true reflection of what is indicated. What would you feel if you learned that not all those details are accurate?
In Europe, horse meat circulated the market for a long time in form of ready meals and burgers until an Irish Food Authority found out during a research.
You may have also heard of a case where a certain company in the US disguised an inferior quality of virgin oil and packaged it as Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It was released to the market with high prices as a superior product and was only discovered after it had already saturated the market.
There are also rumors that certain brands of cheese could be contaminated with wood residue and very low-quality ingredients.
With the world today being tied to one global market, chances of criminals manipulating food can be dangerously high. Access to safe, clean and fully nutritious food is a major concern of individuals worldwide. Whether you are a manufacturer or an end user, you want to ensure 100% safety and quality in your products.
Food manufacturing ISO is a complete food management set of regulations that act as a guideline for all users all over the world.
The following are among the most important standards in the food industry.
A good mentor will tell you that if it was not documented, it was not done. An argument is that if someone is to follow the same processes and procedures, they have to be written and accessible. Most manufacturers within the same industry make the same goods. It is of extreme importance that each member of the chain is guided by identical recorded rules such that everyone is responsible for a safe end product. ISO standards ensure that the policy documents are available, implemented and continuously verified.
Management of Responsibility:
Food manufacturing ISO Standards ensures quality is enhanced, objectives have been made clear, and reviews are done regularly. Customer focus is core to any company, and so there must be a responsibility check. Authority in any institution gives direction and if the communication is clear to all parties involved, then we can be sure that quality will not be compromised.
Does every worker understand that they are important and that their role is an essential contribution to making quality products? Does the process of enhancing customer service matter to each member of the team? This understanding leads to the commitment to deliver superior products.
The standards check to ensure that the personnel is available, trained and sufficiently equipped for their role. Their experience contributes heavily to ensure the end product is safe to use. For instance, in a team that packages meat products, a compromise during packaging could easily cause cross-contamination and result in poisonous attacks that could even be fatal.
Infrastructure is also an essential resource for every manufacturer. The working space, the utilities must all be well maintained. The building itself must be secure. If a working environment is not kept in check, the staff will end up producing low quality. Equipment used for processing need to be regularly checked as well to allow seamless product realization.
There are other important aspects of food manufacturing ISO, for example, design and product realization. However, the three most essential standard checks relate to your team, your resources, and your policies and procedures.
If you go wrong in the first three standards, then you have likely messed up everything else. It will not matter how great your design is or how you execute the realization of your product. The end product will parade compromise.
Most manufacturers do not fully appreciate ISO Standards; they view it as a tool used by the government to terrorize them. The truth is, these standards may not seal all the risk gaps in the food industry, but they go a long way in helping us sight the loopholes and deal with them before we suffer the consequences.
In need of assistance with developing your Food Safety Quality Management System? Contact Ledge today for assistance.
President, Ledge Inc.
Adam is a Penn State engineer that has served as a Data Analyst and Engineer at St. Onge Company for 5 years, prior to establishing Ledge Inc. While maintaining a focus on simple solutions, Ledge Inc. has provided quality system implementation, process design, database development, quality tools, quality training, and data analysis to over 35 companies in South Central Pennsylvania and throughout the country. Adam currently serves as the sitting Chair for American Society for Quality Harrisburg Section 503 and as a member of the board for The Manufacturers’ Associations of South Central PA.