Revised ISO 22003 ensures consistent certification body approach

The expansion to cover both systems and product standards is harmonizing the food safety certification approach across all schemes.

The ISO 22003 standard specifies requirements for certification bodies conducting audit and certification activities across the entire food chain. It forms part of the accreditation process to ensure that certification bodies are consistent in auditor competence, audit duration, audit planning, site sampling (if permitted) and granting certification.

Up until now ISO 22003 has only applied to management systems standards like ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000. Process certification standards such as BRCGS, IFS, SQF and others have not set forth the same criteria for accredited certification bodies.

Through its national committees, ISO has been working on the ISO 22003 revision for the past couple of years. The major change is coverage of the process certification standards not part of ISO. This brings a clear consistency across all schemes, from ISO 22000 and all other GFSI benchmarked schemes.

The standard published on World Food Safety Day has two parts where ISO 22003 Pt 1 covers food safety management systems and ISO 22003 Pt 2 covers products, processes and services, including food safety systems.

A number of scheme owners and Certification Programme Owners (CPOs) have already announced that they will incorporate ISO 22003 into scheme requirements in the next revisions of their standards.

“This is a great way to mark the World Food Safety Day.  Aligning requirements for all certification bodies across all schemes and the food value chain from primary production all the way to retail and catering, brings a level playing field into the industry and builds trust. Regardless of standard chosen by the food business, the approach taken by CBs to measure compliance is now consistent,” says Amanda McCarthy, Global Food & Beverage Director in Business Assurance, DNV.

DNV’s food safety experts have been actively contributing to the revision through national and international working committees.

For many years there has been a drive for equivalence across food safety standards, so that retailers and food service businesses can ensure consistency of food safety management throughout the value chain, regardless of the standard selected by their suppliers. This brings everyone another step closer.