Food Manufacturing recently had the opportunity to correspond with Deepak Vetal, product marketing manager at Atlas Copco, to discuss the new ISO 22000 Certification and its impact on the food industry.
This certification serves to reassure consumers that the business they are buying from is working with a supplier who conforms to international quality, safety and reliability standards. Atlas Copco is the first compressed air manufacturer with an ISO 22000 Certification.
What is ISO 22000 and why did Atlas Copco apply for certification?
ISO 22000 is a quality certification from the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) that can be applied to any organization in the food chain. It is a food and beverage (F&B) specific derivative of ISO 9001.
Compressed air is widely used in the F&B industry and is sometimes referred to as the “fourth utility” next to electricity, water and gas. Due to its safety and reliability, more than 90 percent of all processing companies use compressed air as a power source. Atlas Copco has already achieved ISO 8573-1 Class Zero certification, which ensures that the compressed air is oil-free and will not contaminate the F&B manufacturing process. The next logical step was to apply for ISO 22000 certification.
In May 2015, the production facility of Atlas Copco’s Oil-free Air Division in Antwerp, Belgium was awarded ISO 22000 certification after an audit executed by Lloyd’s. The Antwerp facility manufacturers oil-free air compressors, blowers and air treatment products. The certification means Atlas Copco is helping to further the F&B industry’s goal to provide safe, fresh food to its consumers.
We realize that ISO 22000 certification is a key certification for F&B manufacturers. Because compressed air plays such an important role in the F&B manufacturing process, we believe it should also be a key certification for compressor manufacturers who supply equipment to the F&B industry.
What steps are required for ISO 22000 certification?
ISO 22000 certification requires that you build a documented Food Safety Management System (FSMS), which includes instituting a critical control plan, a hazard analysis and programs to ensure a sanitary environment. The documented FSMS helps identify, prevent and eliminate food safety hazards and is becoming increasingly important, as consumers demand safe food and food processors require safe ingredients.
Does ISO 22000 describe a certain quality of food or, more specifically, quality of compressed air?
No, ISO 22000 is a quality management system. The system establishes tested procedures that guarantee the product manufactured is not a food safety risk. As such, the standard does not allow contaminant limits. By using this system, manufacturers prove that their product, equipment and preparation measures do not create a food safety risk.
What are the safety hazards of food manufacturing, and how are you addressing the hazards as a compressor manufacturer?
There are three primary safety hazards: biological, chemical and physical. Designing and implementing a Food Safety Management System can help mitigate these hazards and is a key component of the ISO 22000 certification.
Biological Hazard: These hazards are caused by microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, parasites and mold, and are often associated with the failure of a process step. Oil-free compressors do not generate biological hazards when used as intended and maintained as described in instruction manuals. Biological contaminants are reduced in quantity or removed entirely due to the sterilizing effect (when used in combination with the oil free compressor and connected adsorption dryer.) It’s important to note that though compressed air passes through high temperatures in the compressor stages, the time is too short to ensure full sterilization.
Chemical Hazard: Chemical hazards are substances that may not be found naturally in a product. For example, it could be a substance intentionally added to the plant or animal during growth or food processing. Atlas Copco’s production process, as well as our sub-suppliers, adapt to the need at hand. All products and systems that may contain chemicals are thoroughly inspected. The result of this investigation and adaption exercise is to ensure that no food safety risk is identified. Our process ensures that oil-free compressors and drying equipment will not create any chemical hazards when used as intended.
Physical Hazard: Physical hazards are substances that are not typically found in food and can potentially cause physical injury. For example, compressor equipment and related dryers could release particulates from the inner parts of components, in turn generating a physical hazard. However, in most cases, these releases are avoided. Physical hazards can be avoided by referring to the ISO 8573-1 standard for installing a downstream filtration system.
Why should food manufacturers employ ISO 22000-certified companies?
This certification gives F&B manufacturers peace of mind that, in the case of a compressor manufacturer, a key piece of manufacturing equipment was made in a clean, safe environment. The ISO 22000 certification also reassures consumers that the business they are buying from is working with a supplier who conforms to international quality, safety and reliability standards.
Additionally, a revision of the ISO 22000 standard is currently underway with the update expected to be published in 2017. As an ISO 22000 expert, Atlas Copco can assist F&B customers as they go through the updated process.
To which industries does ISO 22000 certification apply?
ISO 22000 applies to any food industry organization (food chain), regardless of size that wishes to implement systems that consistently provide safe food products. The standard demonstrates an organization’s commitment to preventing food safety hazards.
Have other compressor manufacturers achieved the ISO 22000 certification?
Atlas Copco is the first compressed air manufacturer with an ISO 22000 certification, and we believe others will follow. We want to support the food industry in their continued commitment to food safety, and this certification is a valuable way to show our dedication.