Certification Data Access to Enhance Food Safety throughout the Supply Chain

By Didier Blanc, Founder & Director, ViaSyst

GLOBAL FOOD SAFETY INITIATIVE (GFSI)

Launched in 2000, GFSI  is a worldwide industry and retail driven initiative, which mission is to “provide continuous improvement in food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide”.
Major international retailers (Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour, Mc Donald’s, …) and food manufacturing concerns (Nestlé, Coca Cola, Danone, …) are involved within GFSI board, technical committee and working groups for setting the common requirements and rules against which food safety management systems shall be benchmarked to get GFSI recognition. 
GFSI recognition motto is: “once certified, everywhere accepted”.
Major buyers and retailers require a GFSI recognized certification from their suppliers, more and more, since the late 90’s. Other stakeholders like authorities also are getting open to rely on third party food safety management (FSMS) certification. But certificate is not enough, more specific information is needed to build trust and confidence. This is where a database with selected and controlled access to FSMS certification audits data can contribute to food safety throughout the supply chain.

ISO 22000

ISO 22000 is a family of international standards addressing food safety management systems. The system can be applied to any organizations in the food chain. The same as GFSI benchmarking requirements, ISO 22000 certification is based on three key elements:
  1. PRPs (prerequisite programs, or GHP, GMP, GAP, etc.)
  2. HACCP
  3. Management System elements
The first ISO 22000 version has been published in 2005, after 4 years’ development work within the ISO Technical Committee 34. ISO 22000 is currently under revision. More than 120,000 certificates have been granted against ISO 22000 worldwide since publication.
ISO 22000 certification demonstrates the company’s ability to control food safety hazards and ensures the food safety at the time of consumption. Being a ISO 22000 certified allows a company to show their customers that they have in place a food safety management system that is recognized worldwide.
But ISO 22000 alone doesn’t meet the GFSI benchmarking requirements, for 2 major reasons:
  1. The choice of the applicable PRPs is open for the certified company,
  2. There is no scheme owner behind ISO 22000 certification, to control that certification bodies operate according to GFSI compliant procedure
These are the reasons why the FSSC 22000 certification scheme has been built around ISO 22000 to make it GFSI compliant.

FSSC 22000 FOOD SAFETY MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATION

FSSC 22000 is a Dutch Foundation created in 2009 with the (achieved) mission of providing a solution for GFSI recognition for ISO 22000. FSSC 22000 governance is controlled by a Board of Stakeholders involving all major stakeholders (manufacturers, retailers, certification bodies …).
In a few years, thanks non-for profit foundation status and ISO neutral and universal character, FSSC 22000 caught up against other schemes like BRC, IFS, SQF to become one of the worldwide major GFSI certification scheme, with 100+ licensed certification bodies, and soon 15000 certificates.
Major food manufacturing groups like Nestlé, Coca Cola, Cargill, Danone, PepsiCo, etc. rely on FSSC 22000 for the certification of their plants and suppliers. And major retailers accept and trust FSSC 22000 certification for their suppliers.
The directory of FSSC 22000 organizations is publicly available on the web, but this is not enough: beyond certificate, access to data of certified company is getting more and more crucial within stakeholders in a globalized supply chain.
Some examples:
  • Groups need to access data of their plants or manufacturing sites
  • Retailers and major buyers need to access data of their suppliers
  • Authorities need access to data of the food manufacturing companies in their country

TRUST THANKS DATA ACCESS

Third party certification needs trust for all users.
Trust is built on measurable facts, evidence and indicators All FSSC 22000 certification data are managed on a centralized database developed and operated by ViaSyst, FSSC IT partner. This unique data availability allowed FSSC & ViaSyst to develop specific (read only) access role and rules for external users to enable following objectives:
  • Access all audit data of agreeing assigned certified sites 
  • Extract data for data analysis purposes
  • Monitor & benchmark performance of sites, suppliers, auditors & CBs
  • Follow KPIs & indicators

EXCLUSIVE DASHBOARD

Data users & decision makers need real-time concise, visual & comprehensive, data display for proceeding to their risk & assurance analysis.
The ViaSyst platform opens on a executive synthetic performance dashboard, tailored according needs of relevant users (e.g. scheme owners, groups, retailers …)
This unique dashboard allows performance monitoring and benchmarking, down to the last relevant detail: one click – all data available, fully exploitable.
This is how database can contribute to enhance food safety and confidence throughout the food supply chain.