Monday, 15 February 2010

Food Safety and Business Assurance

Recently, a food manufacturing client asked me why they needed a FSSC 22000 management system certification and Business Assurance from LRQA. The conversation was all about “what could a certified management system approach offer that a checklist approach could not?”
To answer this question, we need to first go back to a clear definition of management systems. Management systems can be defined as a company’s internal processes that help them safeguard their current and future business and provide confidence that they are meeting the needs of their internal stakeholders and promises they have made to their customers. Personally, I like the definition supplied by Henri Fayol from the book General and Industry Management, “Management Systems play a part in all undertakings, large or small, industrial, commercial, political, religious, or any other.”

Management Systems = Certification = Business Assurance

LRQA, through its unique assessment approach we call Business Assurance, has helped companies through the process of bringing together the two worlds of how they run their company and management systems/certification. LRQA clients understand that certification doesn’t exist apart from how the company conducts its day to day operations. LRQA clients understand how to leverage their ISO certified management systems with their business operations to increase confidence, discipline and overall improvement in the business.
So, now we come back to the original question. “Does my company need certification?” Well based on the above definition of management systems, the question isn’t about whether you should have a management system - because every company or undertaking already has one, whether they know it or not. The real question is, “Is your management system a good one or a bad one. Now, I can help you answer that question!
The simple answer to the question is that LRQA helps clients improve their management systems and achieve business objectives via our certification approach called Business Assurance. The original question seems a little silly now doesn’t it?
Now back to my friends at the food company, and a short story I’d like to tell you. This company had years of experience with food safety audits utilizing checklist approaches. They had passed all their checklist audits with flying colors and were extremely proud of their record. We began the certification process with one of their best-performing locations.
Fast forward a few months, LRQA completed the Stage 2 assessment and presented our findings and recommendations at the closing meeting. Imagine their surprise when they discovered they had some major problems to address, but why? The reason is that FSSC 22000 included a number of processes that checklists don’t.
How did this benefit that organization, you ask? The company was able to clearly see where there was work to be done in integrating their food safety strategy and their overall business. Not something that a checklist would have helped with.
The food company quickly realized that to truly manage risk and food safety, not only was it about having the right food safety management program in place – but having that program verified by a reputable, trusted body with a global footprint, LRQA.
In sales at LRQA, I get asked the same question in various forms every day. Basically, “Why does my company XYZ need certification?” Answer: Certification by LRQA means that your company recognizes its management systems are linked with its corporate identify and are critical to helping it achieve its business objectives and meet stakeholder commitments, and as such, are independently certified by a registrar committed to helping clients achieve these objectives by effectively managing risks and costs, aligning investments and improving service via their managing systems.

To reiterate, a company must use its management system to achieve business objectives the above 4 key areas:

1. Manage Risk
2. Manage Costs
3. Align Investments
4. Improve Service

The degree to which a company achieves these objectives is linked to the effectiveness of its management system which is externally verified by certification. If you are a food company, aligning your food safety strategy (Managing Risk) with business objectives must be achieved if optimum results are hoped to be achieved.
With LRQA and FSSC 22000, your company will have the confidence they are working with a registrar or certification body that understands food safety is more than just a bad reputation. Food safety incidents can result in death or illness, costly recalls, bad press, decreased consumer confidence and damaged brand value. LRQA helps organizations develop confidence to addressing risk and food safety as part of their business processes. And don’t forget, having a registrar who understands your business becomes more important as the likelihood of risk grows and the processes to manage them effectively become more complex, especially as levels of food safety vary from country to country with increased globalization.
Now I have just given you a few business strategy reasons for why a company would welcome FSSC 22000 as part of their overall competitive strategy. However, there are a host of technical reasons I encourage you understand by visiting which has additional educational content including webinars and white papers.


  1. Nice Reading. Thanks.
    LRQA helps bring integrity, independence and world-renowned recognition to your assurance claims.

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    Food Safety Training

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  3. Glad to read this informative post.