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N° 27

SCE S 38, 39, 44 + 79

…we have made the analyses & found

traces of a scandal!

GFSI, BRC, IFS, ISO 22000 -
What do they all mean?
Context and the retailers can be assured by asking their sup-
pliers of branded products to be certified through one
HACCP - Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point – is an of these recognised GFSI standards.
analysis and control method for food safety risks and
whose application has been demanded by legislation The BRC & IFS standards are also recognised stan-
in practically all countries since the mid ‘90s. The dards.
official version (available on of the BRC Global Standard-Food
HACCP method has been published by the Codex Ali-
mentarius international commission, an organisation The British Retail Consortium (BRC),
linked to the WHO and the FAO. It describes the sys- groups the major British food retailers. The third ver-
tematic method in 12 steps: sion of the BRC Global standard - Food (April 2002)
has been recognised by the GFSI. It contains the
1. Assemble HACCP team following chapters:

2. Describe product 1. HACCP system
2. Quality management system
3. Identify intended use 3. Buildings, equipment and installations
4. Construct flow diagram 4. Product control
5. On-site confirmation of flow diagram 5. Procedure control
6. Personnel
6. List all potential hazards associated with each
step, conduct a hazard analysis, and consider any The standard does not end with the requirements of
measures to control identified hazards the HACCP method, it is also concerned with the need
for management systems or good practises during
7. Determine Critical Control Points manufacture (GMP). It refers explicitly to the publica-
tion of Codex Alimentarius.
8. Establish critical limits for each CCP Companies can be certified according to this standard.
9. Establish a monitoring system for each CCP To know more: please check the ProCert Data sheets
N° 11 & 12 (FAQs, comparison with other references –
10. Establish corrective actions available free of charge on, publica-
tions page).
11. Establish verification procedures
ProCert was one of the first organisations to be able to
12. Establish Documentation and Record Keeping deliver accredited certifications to the BRC standard,
(in 1999) – a fundamental advantage, along with
The ProCert HACCP guide (free of charge for clients) EUREPGAP, of the international development of Pro-
describes in a detailed way the application of this Cert.
International Food Standard (IFS)
NB: Steps 6 to 12 mentioned above constitute what is
known as the “HACCP Seven Principles”, used by cer- The Chamber of Commerce for German retailers
tain legislations. (HDE) is the author of this standard, the third version
having been applied in Germany since January 2003.
It is only from 2004 that foreign certifiers will be rec-
Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) ognised by the HDE. ProCert is already involved (see: The fourth version of this stan-
The CIES Business Forum (, which dard is planned for July 2004, with the following struc-
groups over 200 major retailers in 50 countries, ture based on ISO 9001:
started the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) in
2001, the requirements of which are available on 1. Quality management system The objective of the initiative is 2. Management responsibility
to impose the application of a food safety manage-
ment standard. Since several standards of this type 3. Resource management
exist internationally and the slogan of the GFSI is 4. Production processes
« once certified, accepted everywhere », the docu- 5. Measures, analyses and improvements
ment describes the criteria which need to be satisfied
for such a standard to be recognised. Every recog-
nised standard (5 to date) is then considered as equal
ProCert – Your Partner for integrated certifications
ProCert, Organisme certificateur, PSE-EPFL, CH-1015 Lausanne, +41 21 693 87 21,, Vers. 2 : 1 /2
ProCert, Zertifizierungsstelle, Holzikofenweg 22, CH-3000 Bern 23, +41 31 560 67 67 ,, 23.08 .04
N° 27

ISO 22000 – soon the international standard Principle interpretation difficulties
In 2001, in view of the importance of food safety The term « Control » is based on a number of errors
management systems internationally, ISO decided to in interpretation. In fact, the English term should
create a working group whose goal is to elaborate an perhaps be translated as « mastered » and not « con-
international standard that could regroup, in the near trolled».
future, all private and national initiatives such as BRC,
IFS et al. Codex Alimentarius defines the measurement of con-
trol as follows: "any intervention and activity to which
For ISO 22000 – its code name –, the calendar is as one can have recourse to prevent or eliminate a dan-
follows: ger which threatens food safety or to bring it back to
an acceptable level".
- spring 2004 : consultation of the DIS (Draft In-
ternational Standard) It thus acts basically as prevention... and not as con-
trol, just as the introduction of Codex specifies:
- end 2004 : final project (FDIS – Final DIS) "HACCP is a tool which makes it possible to evaluate
- early 2005 : first certifications the risks and to establish systems of control centred
more on prevention than on the analysis of the fin-
The Director of the GFSI is playing an active role in ished product".
the ISO 22000 elaboration process, along with D. Many HACCP applications do not reflect this funda-
Blanc of ProCert, who presides as the Swiss delegate mental principle.
in the international working group.
Without going into details concerning the configuration Another frequent misunderstanding: GMP require-
ments described in standards such as BRC or IFS are
of the new standard, we can already confirm that an read literally without taking into account that the
application of the HACCP system in all its rigour (fol- standard always gives a warning, such as "if neces-
lowing the 12 steps) will allow for problem-free certifi- sary" or "when applicable"... thus bringing us back to
cation. the HACCP study and its rigour.
In a number of cases, expensive and unnecessary
investment is incurred (e.g. safety glass, metal dete c-
tors) when a serious analysis of the risks (HACCP
....& that, stage 6) would have shown that the danger is not
significant and that other preventive measures would
does it have made it possible to achieve the desired control...
conform?!... Another frequent problem: the absence of a general
concept for good manufacturing practice (GMP) and
hygiene describing for a particular profession the
cleaning, maintenance personal hygiene, require-
ments. However, GMP must be in place before carry-
ing out a HACCP study.
The absence of a HACCP team is also a frequent non-
conformity, particularly in small companies. It is then
a question of finding solutions to ensure that the de-
sired competences (eg. microbiology, technology,
production, etc...) are realised without having to cre-
ate new posts.
Lastly, the management system section can pose
problems with companies who have not established an
This standard, which has the attribute of being appli- ISO 9001 system.
cable in any stage in the food chain (agricultural pro- Advantages of a food safety management sys-
duction, agricultural suppliers, food industry…) will tem
finally realise the GFSI vision: ”once certified, ac-
cepted everywhere”.
The correct application of the HACCP method makes it
Situation in Europe possible to substantially improve the control of food
safety and responsibility within a company. The ques-
Most major retailers in Europe (eg. Tesco, Sainsburys, tions relating to food safety are then taken in hand by
M&S, Waitrose etc in the UK and Metro in Germany, the company itself, without inspectors or auditors
Coop and Migros in Switzerland, Carrefour, Delhaize in imposing their own ideas.
France,…) require a BRC or IFS certification from their
suppliers of branded products, mostly as of the end of The installation of a food safety management system
2004. is a priority investment in know-how, rather than in
equipment and installations - which should not pre-
Consequences for the food industry clude the analysis of the risks linked to the identifica-
Up to now, the HACCP systems were controlled by a tion of a targeted investment.
more or less exhaustive sampling by the official ser- R. Schnyder & Dr D. Blanc
vices, all under a formal inspection. 23.08.2004
But, a certification audit is more rigorous, more com-
plete and is concerned with the systematic application
of HACCP. In particular, the company has to prove
that it is able to self-evaluate the risks associated with
food safety – and to control them. This implies a cor-
rect and complete application of the HACCP method
(following the 12 steps), on which the auditor has to
evaluate the relevance and reliability of the control
measures selected and applied by the company. The
audits also concern the elements of management
systems, giving the advantage to those companies
who already have esta blished ISO 9001.

ProCert – Your Partner for integrated certifications
ProCert, Organisme certificateur, PSE-EPFL, CH-1015 Lausanne, +41 21 693 87 21,, Vers. 2 : 2 /2
ProCert, Zertifizierungsstelle, Holzikofenweg 22, CH-3000 Bern 23, +41 31 560 67 67 ,, 23.08 .04