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3 Food Safety and Food Security Systems

· 6 min read
Israel Munguia

If your company is part of the food industry and has not yet implemented a Food Safety system, it is crucial that you read this article. Below, I will explain why you are navigating in dangerous territory every day.

Food can carry more than 200 diseases that affect humans. Surprisingly, one out of every ten people worldwide gets sick from consuming contaminated food. Additionally, it is estimated that 420,000 people die annually due to foodborne diseases, and unfortunately, among them are approximately 125,000 children (according to the World Health Organization - WHO).

Now, have you ever stopped to think if your company is producing food, raw materials, ingredients, packaging materials, or other products without paying attention to food safety?

The Risk of Not Having a Food Safety or Food Security Management System in Your Company

These data should make you reflect on the imminent danger your company is exposed to. Have you wondered what could happen if a small or medium-sized company releases a batch of contaminated products to the market? Have you considered the consequences if a group of people gets sick due to the consumption of those contaminated products? Worse yet, have you imagined the repercussions if someone were to die due to the consumption of your contaminated product?

Let me tell you what could happen. Most small or medium-sized companies could not cope with the repercussions that would follow such a significant event. The legal claims, compensation payments, and the media storm that would ensue would be unbearable for most of these companies, especially the smaller ones.

Therefore, I urge you to urgently consider and prioritize the issue of food safety in your company. Do not underestimate the importance of implementing a Food Safety or Food Security Management System. Protecting the health of consumers and safeguarding the reputation and stability of your company are critical aspects that must not be overlooked.

What Is a Food Safety or Food Security Management System?

A Food Safety or Food Security Management System comprises a series of controls, procedures, policies, and tools designed to ensure that the products your company produces or handles are always safe for consumption.

Safe products refer to those that are free from chemical, microbiological, and physical contaminants. You can find examples of hazards in the following table;

Hazard TypeCommon Examples
Physical HazardsGlass, plastic, metal, wood fragments
Bone, shell, or spine residues
Stones or foreign materials
Insect or rodent contamination
Chemical HazardsPesticide residues
Chemical additives
Heavy metal contamination (lead, mercury)
Allergen presence
Migration of chemical compounds from packaging
Cleaning product residues
Microbiological HazardsBacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli
Presence of pathogens
Mold and yeast in baked or preserved products
Foodborne viruses (norovirus, hepatitis)
Fecal contamination in vegetables irrigated with water
Parasite contamination in fish and seafood

Who Should Implement a Food Safety System?

In general, all companies involved in the food supply chain, whether in production, distribution, or services, should seriously consider implementing a Food Safety or Food Security Management System. However, if your company is in any of the following situations, it is even more urgent that you take action:

  1. You produce, transform, handle, or store finished products for consumption, ingredients or additives to be added to finished products for consumption, or primary or secondary packaging materials.

  2. Your products are already sold at more than one point of sale.

  3. Your products are sold on a large scale or moderately large scale, for example, if they are already present in supermarkets or convenience stores.

  4. Your products are being exported to other countries.

  5. Your products are particularly susceptible to any type of chemical, microbiological, or physical contamination.

If your company meets one or more of these conditions, it is crucial to take immediate action to implement a Food Safety or Food Security Management System. These measures will help you ensure the quality, safety, and reliability of your products, protect consumer health, and safeguard the long-term reputation and success of your company.

What Tools Can You Use to Implement a Food Safety or Food Security Management System?

There are several standards and regulations to choose from. In this article, I will specifically discuss three of them:

Let's start with HACCP, which is the basis for all food safety systems. The principles of HACCP are included in all food safety and food security standards and regulations. If your company is starting to implement a tool to ensure the safety of products, HACCP can be a good option. It is not as complicated to implement or as extensive as a full food safety management system, but it already includes the necessary principles to ensure that you deliver safe products to the market.


Learn more about HACCP at our Free Learning Center.

A middle ground between the three tools I will mention today is the ISO 22000 standard. This standard is a comprehensive food safety management system that includes all the requirements of a management system. This involves risk assessment, performance evaluation, ensuring staff training and awareness, among many other integral aspects of a management system.

Finally, we have FSSC 22000, which is a standard accepted by the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative). If your company is looking to implement a high-level food safety management system, this would be the most suitable option.

In summary, you have several options to choose from. HACCP is a good choice if you're just starting out, ISO 22000 is a more comprehensive management system, and FSSC 22000 is the highest-level standard for food safety in your company.

And that's all for now! I hope this information is useful in understanding the importance of a Food Safety Management System in your company. If you have any specific topics related to food safety that you would like me to address in future articles, please leave your comments, and I will gladly consider them. Thank you for reading and staying tuned for future publications!