The Impact Of Iso 22000 On The Global Market Place

In recent years, food safety has increasingly become an important issue to consumers. This is largely due to the food safety scandals that have been covered by the press in a number of countries. Over the last decade, China in particular, has been at the center of a number of food safety scandals. In 2004, it was reported that 13 babies died of malnourishment in coastal Fujian province after being fed formula with little or no nutritional value. In 2008, at least six infants died and some 300,000 were sickened after consuming milk made from powder contaminated with melamine, a chemical used in making plastics.

The Chinese government has since been forced to implement stricter regulation controls in order to restore the public's confidence. Consumers in other countries were particularly concerned that China effectively maintains the safety of its food supply as Chinese ingredients end up in foodstuffs around the world. Between 2004 and 2007, Chinese food exports climbed about 63%

Under new Chinese regulations, companies that produce substandard products will face higher fines. Those who engage in illegal conduct will face tougher punishments, and companies will be held accountable for any harm they cause consumers.

Elsewhere, steady progress has been made by the food industry to tackle these food safety scandals. Concern over potential risks in the food supply chain prompted the creation of a number of early food safety sector initiatives and standards, including the HACCP. The HACCP is recognized internationally as a way of managing critical risks to food safety. It is based on seven essential principles and it allows for hazard identification to verification of successful implementation of the necessary controls. The majority of the food standards have adopted these principles in order to protect consumers against the most serious health risks.

In 1998, the British Retail Consortium launched its BRC Global Standard for Food Safety to provide a standard for due diligence and supplier approval. Companies supplying food to UK retailers are unlikely to retain business unless they comply with the BRC. This is regardless of where the supplier is based or where the product originates. The BRC was the first standard in the world to approved by the Global Food Safety Initiative.

However, it was not until the recent publication of international food safety management system ISO 22000 in 2005, that there was a single standard covering the entire food supply chain. ISO 22000 is an internationally recognized food safety management system that is based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. It is effective in providing a logical and efficient framework through which food hazards can be identified, controlled and most importantly prevented.

Although ISO 22000 has been adopted by many major branded food companies, such as Coca Cola, Nestle, and Danone, the standard has not been taken up to the extent that it was predicted. This is due to its certain limitations. For instance, it has often been criticized for not being specific enough to meet stakeholder needs.

Despite its limitations, there has been steady progress in companies around the world obtaining the ISO 22000 certification. An informal survey carried out in 2008 revealed that the ISO 22000 had been implemented in at least 72 countries. A few years on and Biscuits maker Munchy Food Industries Sdn Bhd is planning to enter the European market this year after obtaining the ISO 22000 certification late last year. Similarly, Siniora Food Industries, a Jordanian-based company has gained the ISO 22000 certification, as well as Al Ain Farms for Livestock Production, a dairy farm in the UAE.