According to ISO 22000 2018 standards, the top management shall exercise leadership and commitment in accordance with the FSMS. The standards proceed to define “top management” as any group or person who is in charge of control or direction of the organization, high up on its hierarchy of powers.
Exercising leadership and commitment:
Previously, the top management would easily skip audits without a reason – not anymore. This time around, the auditor will require the presence of the top management to discuss matters related to leadership. The old 1SO 22000 version, however, already outlined several examples of how leadership could be exercised inside the FSMS management systems.
– Formulating a food safety policy
– Availing the necessary resources in sufficient quantities
– Cultivating the culture of perpetual improvement
– Relaying information to the interest parties in an effective way
– Presiding over all management review meetings
Besides, the 2018 version outlines that the top management will:
– Ascertain that the food safety goals and the organization’s strategic plans are compatible and are integrated within the structures of the organization
– Oversea the integration of all the FSMS requirements and specifications into the business processes of the organization.
Establishing food safety policies
Directions concerning the establishment of food safety policies have remained the same as the previous version. A food safety policy contains the direction and intentions of the top management of the company. It is also approved by the same top management and is used to drive all the controls put in place and actions that are taken to improve it.
The ISO 22000 specifically requires the set food safety policy – which is expected to be appropriate to all purposes and the context formulated by the organization – must be committed to the following:
– Providing a framework for reviewing and selling the objectives of FSMS
– Satisfying all applicable food safety regulations and requirements which may include regulatory and statutory requirements
– Addressing external and internal communication
– Ensuring continued improvement to the FSMS system
– Ensuring competencies relating to food safety
After the FSMS policy has been approved, it shall be relayed to every interested party including the customers, external providers, and operators on request. Also, the set food policy shall be reviewed periodically by the top management to ascertain that it is adhering to the organization’s context. The commitment of the top management should be visible to demonstrate the organization’s commitment. The commitment may be demonstrated through:
– Annual staff appraisal
– Website/intranet site
– Notice boards
– Supplier contracts
– Supplier evaluations
– Induction packs
– Recruitment packs
It should not be forgotten that the food safety policy should always be available as documented information
People and their responsibilities
This section of the standards requires the company to define explicit responsibilities, authorities, and roles throughout the organization. The top management shall be required to ensure that all authorities and responsibilities have been assigned to relevant parties and understood. ISO 22000 also specifies requirements for appointed food safety team leaders that oversee the system’s establishment, implementation, maintenance, and update as required. It makes the lives of external auditors easier to know the person or authority to contact whenever there is a need to.
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