Organizations and businesses that are associated with the production, distribution, preparation and the handling of foodstuff are susceptible to certain hazards, which can occur during any stage of the entire procedure. After considering a number of factors and taking into account all the hazards the regulatory authorities of most countries have stipulated that these organizations or businesses are required to have a Food Safety Management System in place to provide adequate safety for their produce and the general public at large.
A Food Safety Management System can be implemented by organizations and businesses to meet the requirements set forth by the regulator in accordance with the type of business they are involved in. There is a requirement to understand that the stipulations could be different for a producer, a manufacturer and for that matter even a retailer. However, it is the overall responsibility of the business concerned to ensure that the products delivered to the end consumer are safe for consumption and do not pose any kind of risk to them.
At this stage it would be honest enough to state that businesses and organizations could begin believing a FoodSafety Management System is just another problem, which will make it difficult for them to continue with their business activities. Implementing a Food Safety Management System is not just about having a few controls in place but needs a commitment from the business that they will at all times comply with the regulations which have been stipulated by the regulatory authority. They are obliged to have in place a mechanism, which will allow them to have systems that are established, operated and updated within the framework, which has a structured system of management and has also been incorporated within their overall activities of management.
The introduction of a Food Safety Management System within the framework of an existing business can sound like a complicated matter to most businesses. The system will need dedicated personnel who can monitor the raw material or the finished products of the business every step of the way and even ensure that they maintain adequate records, which can be verified by the supervisory body. There will definitely be certain costs involved which the organization could feel is not warranted. It is a certainty that the organization will have to set aside resources and the manpower necessary for the proper implementation and maintenance of the system. However, companies that are prepared to overlook the resources, which they will be required to expend, will stand to gain immensely because the system can be beneficial to them.
There is a strong belief among many that the presence of food borne hazards only affects the products at the point of consumption, which is truly not the case. Food safety hazards can occur during any stage of the food chain and therefore it is vital that adequate controls in place. A Food Safety Management System has been designed specifically for this purpose and the sole objective of the system is to ensure that the combined efforts of all parties within the food chain are taken into account. One of the foremost systems which have gained popularity throughout the world is the ISO 22,000 and has in place a system which is not just beneficial to the end client but also to all parties involved during different stages of the production and the handling.
A Food Safety Management System is not just a requirement for large companies because it can be implemented throughout the food chain. It must be understood that larger companies are generally not involved in the production of raw material and the risks of contamination of foodstuff is not limited to the supply chains of the products. Contamination of foodstuff can happen at any stage and the objective of the system is not just to prevent such incidences but also to have safeguards in place to ensure that the entire food chain is managed effectively. This is probably the best way for organizations and companies to ensure that they are not exposed to problems of any kind due to the mishandling of foodstuff during any stage of the production, handling and final delivery to the customer.
Do companies or organizations, which have been certified by ISO 20,000 or HA CCP, stand to benefit from the extra expenditure, which they are required to indulge in? This is an issue that has often been raised especially by entities that believed they had everything in place to carry on activities without having a Food Safety Management System. This could perhaps be sheer ignorance on their part because they would have failed to understand the kind of benefits which would be available to them simply because they decided in favor of having a safety system which will classify them as a better organization than the rest.
When companies and organizations do not consider having a Food Safety Management System in place, they are restricting their business opportunities to their individual localities. On the other hand having a system in place will open up a whole set of avenues for them which will assist them to expand their business throughout the country and even venture out into the international markets. At the same time, they will also have an opportunity to instill a better sense of confidence among their clientele simply by having a certificate, which will prove that they provide adequate attention to the quality of the products, or services, which they are distributing. Consumers will be pleased to note that they are dealing with a certified company and purchasing products, which are safe for consumption. The benefits of having a Food Safety Management System are manifold and therefore all companies and organizations involved in this business can benefit immensely simply by following a structured management system.
A Food Safety Management System may very well be considered as an unwanted hassle, which will only bring untold miseries on the applicant. However, certain countries have made it a stipulation, which needs to be followed without exceptions while countless others are still in the process of developing systems, which are suitable for them. Regardless of belief, which could be held by companies, food handlers and retailers, there is a need to understand that the requirement of a Food Safety Management System is a matter that cannot be ignored and is better implemented from the very onset.