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Food Safety Management System Certification – Is it Necessary?

Food Safety Management System Certification – Is it Necessary?

YY TSANG

(CMA Testing and Certification Laboratories)

Many food firms who care about food quality and safety will seek for certification of e.g. ISO 9001 (Quality Management System), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), ISO 22000 (Food Safety Management System), etc. In Spain, researchers1 have once surveyed 189 Spanish firms with ISO 22000 certification (including food manufacturers, packaging firms, transportation firms, caterers and retailers), in order to find out why they agreed to invest considerable resources in establishing, implementing and maintaining a food safety management system (FSMS).


1 Source of Information : Carmen Escanciano, María Leticia Santos-Vijande (2014). Reasons and constraints to implementing an ISO 22000 food safety management system: Evidence from Spain. Food Control, 40: 50 - 57



Simply speaking, a certified management system could help a food firm to improve food quality & safety as well as her efficiency, and meet the future market trend. Moreover, FSMS could allow a firm to improve her image in the market, deal with the market pressure and reinforce the firm’s capability.


Then you might ask if it is the case, why only a few SME food firms in Hong Kong have sought for FSMS certification? According to the aforementioned study, there were some constraints hindering a food firm from implementing an ISO 22000 and getting certified.




Government Should Take the Lead in Promoting FSMS Certification


As early as in 1989, Taiwan authority already started to establish and promote food GMP certification, taking into account of ISO and HACCP requirements. To date, food GMP certification mark is a well-known symbol in Taiwan and also a critical factor influencing Taiwan consumer choice of food.

Image Source: 我的E政府http://focus.www.gov.tw/subject/class.php?content_id=480



Compared with Taiwan, the development of FSMS certification in Hong Kong is sluggish. In Hong Kong, most certified food firms are the big ones. In order to promote the local SME food firms to strengthen self-management and improve product quality and safety, Hong Kong government should follow the practices in Taiwan i.e. intensive publicity to educate the public about FSMS and the rationale behind it, as well as provide financial assistance for developing FSMS and getting certified. This will help to promote a healthy development of local food industry in the long run, and strengthen consumer protection.

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