A simple, practical, and comprehensive guide for food business operators. Learn more about food safety management system: definition, example, template, key elements, and 5 steps.
Published 16 May 2023
Food Safety Management System (FSMS) is a program that aims to prevent food safety hazards from causing adverse health effects on consumers. Food safety management systems also help food business operators comply with international standards and regulations, such as ISO 22000 and the Food Safety Act in the UK.
The purpose of a food safety management system is to ensure that food is safe to eat and will not lead to outbreaks of foodborne illness among consumers. This also includes managing kitchen safety. Food incidents or concerns about the safety of food and whoever is preparing it can harm the food business operator’s reputation in the industry.
To maintain both valuable partnerships and consumer confidence, a food business operator must have documentation of a food safety management system. Additional benefits of FSMS include:
According to ISO 22000, the key elements of food safety management system are:
Interactive communication is the building of trust between suppliers, distributors, providers, and consumers of food. While a food business operator may not have access to all of these stakeholders, they should at least know and keep in contact with:
These two stakeholders should be aware of or actively involved in the creation of the food safety management system. The food business operator should also take into consideration their stakeholders’ preferences, specifications, or requirements when it comes to food safety.
System management is the method by which Food Business Operators (FBO) ensure the effectiveness of their food safety management systems. Though FBO can use any method that works for them, using the ISO method for system management is recommended. ISO management principles to follow:
Prerequisite programmes (PRPs) are defined by the ISO as basic conditions and activities that are necessary within an organization and throughout the food chain to maintain food safety. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, examples of prerequisite programmes are:
Aside from conducting a hazard analysis, HACCP principles also require food business operators to determine critical control points (CCP) or steps in the process where they have the opportunity to address a food safety hazard. Each CCP must have a critical limit or a minimum/maximum value. The other HACCP principles require the following:
Here are the 5 steps of food management system:
When starting a FSMS, food business operators first need to ask themselves “Why?” (i.e., “Why does my food business need a food safety management system?”). No organization is perfect, and most likely the food business operator has already noticed flaws or issues affecting operations. But these areas of improvement are meaningful, in that they can help the FBO structure the FSMS.
By knowing what needs to be fixed and then crafting the FSMS to suit those needs, the FBO is setting the FSMS for success. Some questions to help them get started:
Once the FBO has clearly identified the needs of the food business with regards to food safety, they can move on to the scope. To define the scope of the FSMS, simply ask:
With a priority list of 3 to 5 major problems, the food business operator must now think of a goal or goals that would address and lessen the impact of these problems. The finalized goals will then become the objectives of the food safety management system. Each goal/objective should be S-M-A-R-T: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.
In the context of a FSMS, a food safety policy is how the food business will reach the FSMS objectives. It should outline the management structure that would enable the food business to proceed with changing or improving food safety practices. The policy should also contain procedures for when:
For each food or food product being released or sold by the food business, the FBO should create a hazard control plan that includes the following:
Hazard control plans should be updated regularly and all employees should be sufficiently trained in how to follow and implement these plans.
As mentioned previously, examples of prerequisite programmes are GMP, GAP, and GHP. To follow the GMP prerequisite programme, food business operators will need to create standard operating procedures and conduct GMP audits regularly. For the GAP prerequisite programme, FBO will need to assess their site history to identify risks of contamination and monitor the storage and handling of produce.
The GHP prerequisite programme will require food business operators to observe cleanliness of the facility, equipment, and staff. Personal hygiene and regular sanitation should also be enforced. Other prerequisite programmes include purchasing management, pest control, and food waste management.
Though food business operators should be proactive in maintaining the food safety management system, this doesn’t mean that it is unchangeable. Like any other system or program, the FSMS should be continuously reviewed and improved. A good way to do this is to take a look at the objectives of the FSMS, which should be measurable.
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SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) is a food safety management system software that’s helped food businesses such as Marley Spoon, and Roma Food Products. With SafetyCulture, you can do the following:
How to create a FSMS in SafetyCulture? Simply download our free food safety management system template and follow the 5 steps discussed earlier.
Other guides (with free templates) for food businesses:
SafetyCulture has a free plan that includes most of the features and allows you to add up to 9 other users to your account. Download SafetyCulture for free!
Food Business Operators (FBO) can use this food safety management system template as a framework for their own FSMS. It contains the key elements of food safety management system: interactive communication; system management; prerequisite programmes; and HACCP principles. Create a food safety management system in 5 steps with this free template:
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Erick Brent Francisco
Erick Brent Francisco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. As a content specialist, he is interested in learning and sharing how technology can improve work processes and workplace safety. His experience in logistics, banking and financial services, and retail helps enrich the quality of information in his articles.
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