Hardly a week goes by without the media reporting another scare story or scandal relating to food safety. Sometimes it’s a horror story about a food establishment breaking food storage and preparation rules leading to food poisoning – even restaurants owned by celebrity chefs, such as Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck, have hit the headlines – or it could be a new scientific finding about a particular food product that damages our health.
What is very clear is that after many years of bad press about food safety it is now something that is taken very seriously indeed. We are proud that Certification International was one of the first UK certification bodies qualified to offer UKAS accredited certification services for the food safety management systems standard, ISO 22000:2005. ISO 22000 certification demonstrates a commitment to food safety across the whole supply chain in order to deliver safe food products to the final consumer.
The standard is operated within the framework of a structured management system which means it is incorporated within the overall management activities of the organisation. It also enables efficient integration and seamless compatibility with other quality management systems such as ISO 9001:2008. In terms of this important standard Certification International works with a variety of organisations in order to provide assessment services in a variety of food chain sectors including:
• Poultry farmers
• Food processing facilities
• Food manufacturers
While we focus on the certification elements of food safety we also work with other bodies that address similar issues. For example, the Food Standards Agency works closely with local authority food law enforcement officers to make sure that food law is applied throughout the food chain. The agency also provides advice on a range of enforcement issues which sets out the rights and responsibilities of enforcement authorities and food businesses, and helps ensure that food safety and legal requirements are maintained and monitored. The agency also ensures that local authority monitoring of food businesses is carried out correctly by carrying out audits and collating data on local authorities’ enforcement activity.
In order to reinforce the message about the importance of following sensible guidelines relating to the way we manage food, the agency is launching a new initiative this year: “Food Safety Week 2012: Food safety on a budget.” The event takes place from June 11-17 and will promote the importance of good food hygiene in the home and on how people can ensure that they keep their food safe when trying to save money. Some of the key messages will include understanding ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates, safe use of leftovers and planning of meals.
These are only three simple examples of how the campaign is trying to spread important messages to consumers which is good news for certification bodies like Certification International. The more we can educate people through good communication and reinforce those messages through certification standards the safer our foods will be for all of us.