New ISO standard to facilitate traceability in food supply chains

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ISO takes another step forward towards ensuring the safety of food products for consumers with its new ISO 22005 standard on traceability in the feed and food chain, its latest addition to the ISO 22000 series on food management systems.

ISO 22005:2007, Traceability in the feed and food chain – General principles and basic requirements for system design and implementation, establishes the principles and requirements for the design and implementation of a feed and food traceability system. This standard will allow organizations operating at any step of the food chain to:

  • trace the flow of materials (feed, food, their ingredients and packaging),
  • identify necessary documentation and tracking for each stage of production,
  • ensure adequate coordination between the different actors involved,
  • require that each party be informed of at least his direct suppliers and clients, and more.

Moreoever, a traceability system can improve the appropriate use and reliability of information, effectiveness and productivity of the organization.

In recent years, cases of food poisoning and outbreaks such as the so-called “mad cow disease” among other food hazards, in both developed and developing countries, have illustrated the need for food-related standards that protect public health and reduce the negative social and economic impact of such crises.

A traceability system allows an organization to document and/or locate a product through the stages and operations involved in the manufacture, processing, distribution and handling of feed and food, from primary production to consumption. It can therefore facilitate the identification of the cause for nonconformity with a product(s), and the ability to withdraw and/or recall these if necessary.

Apart from public health considerations, the new standard will also have other social and economic advantages. In the food industry, a diversity of retail and private quality schemes generate uneven levels of safety, confusion over requirements and increased cost and complication for suppliers obliged to conform to multiple programmes. ISO 22005 offers a unique solution for good practice on a worldwide basis and thus contributes to lowering trade barriers.

ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden commented: “With ISO 22005, ISO contributes once more to safeguarding public health and encouraging the economic development of the global food industry in a manner that respects societal needs for safety. In this way, ISO 22005 reflects the essence of the upcoming World Standards Day on 14 October whose 2007 theme is Standards and the Citizen: Contributing to Society.”

ISO 22005:2007 is the latest in a series of food safety standards launched in 2005. The standard uses the same definition of traceability as the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) and provides a complement for organizations implementing the ISO 22000:2005 standard. ISO 22000:2005, gives the basic requirements for a food safety management system to ensure safe food supply chains. ISO 22000 incorporates the principles of the CAC 's "Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point" (HACCP) system for food hygiene.

ISO 22005:2007, Traceability in the feed and food chain – General principles and basic requirements for system design and implementation, was developed by ISO/TC 34, Food products. This standard can be obtained from ISO national member institutes (see complete list with contact details) and the ISO Central Secretariat, and costs 56 Swiss francs.

Maria Lazarte
Maria Lazarte

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