Producing Superior Quality Food To Protect Customers

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The last couple of years have provided ample evidence that control of food safety is critical. Recent media reports have clearly shown severe shortcomings in the food industry that have threatened consumers’ health and safety.

Unsafe food is a risk for all of us – consumers can become seriously ill and the food industry can face costly corrective actions. These ongoing problems cry out for additional tools to reduce or eliminate risks. Communication and raising awareness of potential hazards throughout the entire food chain are crucial as food safety is a joint responsibility for all participating parties.

The ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management System aims to ensure that there are no weak links in the food supply chain.

Since ISO 22000 was first published in 2005, the standard has been well received by the food industry but new food safety risks prompted the need for a revision. The latest edition was published on 19th June 2018 and maintains a strong link to the Codex Alimentarius standards. It also addresses emerging food safety challenges and aligns the strategic direction of an organisation with its Food Safety Management objectives.


The ISO Food Safety Management System is flexible and can be used by all organisations in the food chain. By using the standard the food industry shares a common food safety language, thus reducing the risk of critical errors and maximising the use of resources. Enterprises that can apply the standard include:

  • Growers
  • Transporters
  • Packagers
  • Processors
  • Retailers
  • Bottlers, and
  • Restaurants


Food companies applying the ISO Food Safety Management System will be able to:

  • Embed and improve internal processes and provide consistently safe food.
  • Provide confidence that their organisation’s practices and procedures are effective and robust.
  • Assure customers and other parties through the certification process that food safety hazards are controlled and that their enterprise can provide safe products.
  • Continually improve their Food Safety Management System by reviewing and updating the system at planned intervals so that all activities related to food safety are always optimised and effective.
  • Ensure adequate control at all stages of the food supply chain to stop the introduction of food safety hazards.


To increase the acceptance of the ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management System and ensure that accredited certification programmes are implemented in a professional and trustworthy manner, the technical specification: ISO/TS 22003:2013 Food safety management systems – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of food safety management systems was published in 2007 and reviewed in 2016.


The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the International Featured Standard (IFS) are standards that are recognised by many European retailers and are now required from suppliers of private-label goods.

BRC and IFS include provisions to prevent malicious acts (food defence) and to manage the authenticity of raw materials (food fraud). This is not the case with ISO 22000:2018 but the 2018 version allows for these provisions to be incorporated into the Food Safety Management System.


FSSC 22000 or Food Safety System Certification 22000 is a certification system, which incorporates ISO 22000 and other requirements, in particular food fraud and food defence. FSSC 22000 is recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and can be used by many agri-food businesses.
All of the GFSI-benchmarked Food Safety Management Systems are based on the following three components which must function as a system to minimise the risks for creating a food safety incident:

  • PRPs
  • Other requirements needed for a management system


Risk-based thinking plays a central role in the ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety standard. Organisations are given the tools to assess, identify and evaluate food safety hazards and address how to reduce their impact on consumers. ISO 22000:2018 follows the risk management principles outlined in the ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management standard but there are differences between the two standards.

Download our FREE Guide to learn about the importance of Risk-based Thinking in Food Safety Management.


Better processes
Dynamic control of food safety hazards through HACCP and PRPs is a cost-effective way of controlling food safety, from ingredients to production, storage and distribution.

  • HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) requires that potential hazards are identified and controlled at specific points in the process.
  • PRPs (Prerequisite Programmes) stipulate the prerequisites for producing safe food in various food sectors.

Better competence
Workers learn good hygiene practices through training programmes.

Better infrastructure
Sites, production flows and factory layouts are arranged for satisfactory sanitary conditions.

Better planning
A clear project plan defines how, when and by whom risks and objectives should be managed.

Better teamwork
Effective communication helps employees work towards the same goal of food safety.

Better leadership
Management shows commitment to food safety through policies, resources and actions.

Better performance
Management reviews performance and objectives regularly to drive continual improvement

Better documentation
Food safety policies, procedures, work instructions and records are carefully documented for reference.

Click here to read about ISO Document and Control procedures and Software Solutions.

The ultimate goal of the ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management System is to put good quality, safe food on the tables of consumers. Now that’s something to celebrate! Bon appétit!


Are you ready to update your Food Safety Management System?

Risk ZA offers a wide range of ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Training courses. Grow your skills by attending our courses which are presented by leading industry experts. Click here to check the training course schedule and find the one that suits you best.

For more information and assistance, please contact our friendly team on
+27 (0) 31 569 5900, email info@riskza.com.

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Deadly Listeria outbreak: Can ISO 22000 and preventative controls improve food safety?

Deadly Listeria outbreak: Can ISO 22000 and preventative controls improve food safety?

Calls for tougher food industry standards after deadly listeria outbreak - can ISO standards and preventative controls improve food safety?

Tiger Brands’ CEO Lawrence MacDougall announced in a press statement shortly after  Enterprise Polony was withdrawn from supermarket shelves, that tougher food safety standards are needed not only in South Africa but worldwide.

Food product recalls are at an all time high, which may or may not be good news.

Improvements in pathogen and risk detection technology and better regulatory oversight go some way to explaining the increase in recalls. But in the United States, undeclared allergens in foods topped the list as the major reason for food recalls.

Bacterial contamination – Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes – as well as undeclared substances and extraneous material found in foods also featured high in the April food recall report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

Fresh produce, meat, seafood and poultry pose the greatest health risks.

The U.S. Agriculture Department has placed fresh produce, meat, poultry, and seafood on its ‘watch list’, as these foods pose the greatest potential health risk and are the cause of most foodborne illnesses, hospitalisations, and deaths.

Six people in Europe died in March from eating frozen corn contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, and consumers were warned to avoid eating romaine lettuce after an E.coli outbreak in 13 U.S.states and Canada was traced to Canadian grown lettuce.

Listeria outbreak in South Africa

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced in April 2018 that the world’s worst Listeria outbreak was showing a downward trend in South Africa but it expected more cases.

Laboratory results revealed that in most cases people had become ill after eating polony containing strains of Listeria belonging to L. monocytogenes Sequence Type 6 (ST6).

Tiger Brands’ own laboratory tests confirmed this finding.

A total of 1,024 cases and 200 deaths from all provinces across the country were reported by the National Department of Communicable Diseases in May 2018.

But the death toll could be much higher as importers of Enterprise and RCL Foods products in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region‚ do not have the testing and monitoring facilities to detect listeriosis cases.

Listeria was also found at RCL Foods’ (Rainbow Chickens) Wolwehoek factory in Sasolberg.

The WHO believes that the number of people infected could indicate more than one source of the outbreak.

Listeria outbreak is a disaster for the entire ready-to-eat meat industry.

At the peak of the Listeriosis outbreak 80 tons of recalled polony were being destroyed daily.

Enterprise shut down its Polokwane and Germiston facilities ceasing supply to trade while it explored the source of the outbreak and did a deep cleaning process.

Tiger Brands and RCL Foods share prices tumbled on the JSE, and Alec Abraham, a senior equity analyst at Johannesburg-based Sasfin, said that the weakening of the share prices  would likely be sustained.

More than six countries imposed trade bans on products from South Africa, resulting in losses of over R100m in sausage exports alone.  

The outbreak has caused around R1 billion in losses to the pork value chain so far due to the changes in consumer perceptions of pork. Half of the pork industries meat is used in processed products, according to the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation.

“The pork industry suffered a severe blow following the recent outbreak of listeriosis,” said Paul Makube, senior agricultural economist at FNB Agri-Business.

Tiger Brands’ CEO Lawrence MacDougall said, “We are making every effort to ascertain how ST6 arrived in our production facility in Polokwane, despite us adhering to all the prevailing industry standards.The Listeriosis outbreak has been a terrible blight on the entire ready-to-eat meat industry. It is imperative for the entire industry to come together to agree on an appropriate standard with government. It is not a problem which is unique to South Africa or for that matter Enterprise Foods.”

The Democratic Alliance (DA) blamed Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi for a ‘lack of political will and clarity’ for not getting to the bottom of the Listeriosis outbreak sooner, and that the outbreak pointed to, ‘a broader neglect of proper food safety mechanisms on the part of government.’

DA member of parliament Evelyn Wilson said the record of the world’s largest listeriosis outbreak was ‘not one to be proud of’ and blamed it on a shortage of environmental health inspectors, saying the outbreak could have been avoided if factories were inspected every three months.

In the midst of the crisis and finger-pointing, the Department of Health announced that it would help victims of the Listeria outbreak seek legal restitution, and a class action has been filed by human rights attorney Richard Spoor and Bill Marler of U.S. food safety law firm Marler Clark.

Marler has represented thousands of people in claims against food companies and has harsh words for food and beverage producers.

“If you cannot make mass produced produce safely – don’t sell it. If you put a defective product into commerce and you harm someone, you are responsible. To suggest otherwise, is legally and morally wrong.” – Bill Marler

Estimates are that the listeria outbreak could end up costing Tiger Brand’s in excess of R800m.

Can ISO Management System Standards and preventative controls improve food and beverage safety?

In short, yes. If food and beverage producers pay attention to the big picture and improve food safety through the entire supply chain, food will become safer.

ISO standards and preventative controls encourage food companies to adopt comprehensive monitoring during every step of the food production process.

Risk assessments create higher food safety awareness among producers and food handlers. Increasing food safety awareness also increases people’s awareness of food quality,  as the two go hand in hand.

Food safety and quality management systems provide the framework for record-keeping, training hazard analysis (food safety), prerequisite programs, and so on, which are required in the mandatory preventive controls rules.

Software applications eliminate or reduce paperwork and actively manage food safety and quality by tracking data, which makes analysis easier and, therefore, the management of food safety and quality more efficient.

The ISO 22000 family of International Standards addresses Food Safety management.

ISO 22000 is a certifiable standard and sets out the requirements of a Food Safety management system. Everyone in the food supply chain from farmers and manufacturers to retailers and consumers, can benefit from the guidelines and best practice contained in these ISO standards, which cover everything from food harvesting to product packaging.

The internationally agreed standards help food producers meet legal and regulatory requirements for food products that cross national boundaries.

Issues relevant to consumers such as food safety, nutritional labelling, hygiene, and food additives are also addressed by these standards, which give consumers the peace of mind in knowing that the food they eat meets high standards for safety and quality and contains what it says on the label.

What should food and beverage producers do?

In view of the massive financial losses and reputational damage facing food giant Tiger Brands and the RTE value chain, can any food producer, retailer or anyone involved in the food chain afford not to implement food safety standards or at the very least re-examine Food Safety Management Systems across their entire operation?

Risk ZA offers training courses and consulting services in Food Safety, Quality Management and Risk Assessments for companies that wish to implement or improve on their Food Safety Management practices.

Visit our training course schedule for course details and booking information.

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email RISK ZA at: info@riskza.com or contact us on: 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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