LRQA ISO Standards Updates - What do they mean for Food Safety Management Systems?

Cor Groenveld , Global Head of Food Supply Chain Services, LRQA and Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Food Safety Certification

“It’s an exciting time to be in the management systems community, regardless if you work for a certification body, an accreditation body, a consultancy or if you are involved in your company’s implementation and running of management systems. The current revision process that ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 are undergoing might be getting most of the attention, but let’s be clear, the changes that are taking place within the common text for all ISO management system standards (Annex SL) will directly impact each and every ISO standard.

If you look at the recently published update to ISO 27001 (information security management systems standard) Final Draft International Standard (FDIS), the first thing you will notice is the use of the Annex SL common language. This ISO 27001 White Paper from LRQA outlines how the Annex SL goal of “enhancing compatibility and alignment with other ISO management system standards” has been delivered in ISO 27001. 

How, you ask, is this relevant to Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) such as ISO 22000? No one can exactly say for certain just yet. But the agenda for the November 2013 ISO 22000 technical committee (TC34 SC17) meeting in Australia is expected to have Annex SL on it. That in itself is a clear indicator from ISO as to how serious they are to ensuring that, through Annex SL, management systems will have a shared common language. I am on that technical committee and as the systematic review of ISO 22000 is scheduled for 2014, I look forward to the discussions about the implementation of Annex SL into the next ISO 22000 update. 

The most important benefit that Annex SL will bring for management systems professionals will be the ease of integration over the long term. With ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 having a shared platform, it will be much easier for organisations in the global food supply chain to integrate those two systems into one “company management system.” But, it doesn't stop there. Our hope is businesses of the future will feature one system that goes right across the organisation, with employees understanding how risks in food safety, health & safety, environmental, quality, sustainability, social responsibility, IT systems and so on are being collectively managed. Simply put, tomorrow’s food safety manager needs to understand the organisation’s other management system risks and issues and how it impacts and interacts with the FSMS. The end result can be an integrated risk based management system covering all risk areas that are critical for the organisation and its supply chain. Working for a global company as long as I have, I can testify that speaking a common language goes a long way towards developing shared goals and beliefs. 

Annex SL, good luck, the expectations are tremendous!”


 Cor Groenveld

Cor Groenveld
September 2013

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