Bakers and snack food manufacturers are faced with many standards for food safety, worker safety and environmental protection. Small and large companies are part of global systems as they work with suppliers and customers. This article suggests there will be fewer standards, but they will have more global application.
The application of global standards at a particular company must be based on the scale of the operation and what may be implemented on a continuum between vision and reality.
The biggest news now is the Global Food Safety Initiative (G.F.S.I.) certification, which may help a company meet requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) Food Safety and Modernization Act (F.S.M.A.).
The G.F.S.I. is a business-driven initiative for the continuous improvement of food safety management systems to ensure the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide. The G.F.S.I. provides a platform for collaboration among food safety experts from retailer, manufacturer and food service companies, service providers associated with the food supply chain, international organizations, academia and government. More information may be found at www.mygfsi.com/
AIB International Certification Body (AIBI-CB) may provide Safe Quality Food Program certification, British Retail Consortium, FSSC 22000 and ISO-22000 audits. The G.F.S.I.’s governing principle of “Once Certified; Accepted Everywhere” emphasizes managing a single consistent benchmark for third-party audits to increase thoroughness, efficiency, and to enable buyers to spend less time managing multiple audits schemes from suppliers. More information may be found at www.aibonline.org//GFSI/index.html
A worker safety standardization effort is that Material Safety Data Sheets (M.S.D.S.) are being replaced by Safety Data Sheets (S.D.S.). S.D.S. is a United Nation’s initiative for the globalized harmonized system for the classification and labeling of chemicals. The system uses clear pictograms and signal words.
The S.D.S. system has been adopted by the Occupational and Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). M.S.D.S. paperwork had varied from supplier to supplier and forced the company to create a separate system to consolidate the worker safety information. The S.D.S. system will simplify the use of chemicals and better protect workers. The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (H.C.S.) requires chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers to provide S.D.S.s to communicate the hazards of hazardous chemical products by June 1, 2015. To meet OSHA requirements, workers must have been trained to understand S.D.S.s by Dec. 1, 2013. More information is available at www.osha.gov/Publications/HazComm_QuickCard_SafetyData.html
The American National Standards Institute (A.N.S.I.) oversees the creation, promulgation and use of thousands of norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses. The American Society of Baking hosts working groups to set standards for the A.N.S.I., Z50.1 Safety Standards for many pieces of equipment and Z50.2 Sanitation Standard for the Design of Bakery Equipment for food safety. The food safety group standards for sanitation interface with the Baking Industry Sanitation Standards Committee (BISSC) certification through the American Institute of Baking.
A.N.S.I. also is actively engaged in accrediting programs that assess conformance to standards — including globally-recognized cross-sector programs such as the International Standards Organization (ISO) 9000 (quality) and ISO 14000 (environmental) management systems.
ISO International Standards are meant to create confidence in food and beverage products by ensuring the world uses the same recipe when it comes to food quality, safety and efficiency. Out of more than 19,500 ISO International Standards, approximately 1,000 are specifically dedicated to food, and deal with subjects as diverse as agricultural machinery, logistics, transportation, manufacturing, labelling, packaging and storage.
One particularly useful publication is the “ISO 22000 food safety management systems,” an easy-to-use checklist for small business. Popular stands are: ISO 9000 quality management, ISO 26000 social responsibility, ISO 50001 energy management, ISO 14000 environmental management, ISO 31000 risk management, ISO 22000 food safety management, ISO 3166 country codes, ISO 27001 information security management, and ISO 20121 sustainable events. More information is available at www.iso.org/iso/home/news_index/iso-in-action/food.htm
Bakers and snack food manufacturers may take advantage of many of these tools without fully committing their business to the certification systems. Vision and planning will place companies in the best possible position to respond as government and customer pressure increase. Prepared companies will more easily close the gap between where they are now and where they need to be.