Getting a Grasp on ISO 22000

Posted by Zosi Team

To fully understand the certification requirements of FSSC 22000, it is important to include an overview of ISO 22000, since it helps form the basis of the standard. ISO 22000 is a risk-based methodology that aims to prevent undesirable results in production by taking advantage of opportunities within a facility.

Unlike its GFSI counterparts BRC and SQF, ISO is less prescriptive, meaning it lacks step-by-step procedures. This gives processors more flexibility to define the processes that work best for their operation.

ISO 22000:2018 Overview

The following constitutes a basic overview of ISO 22000:2018.

Normative References
Terms and Definitions
Context of the organization
Performance Evaluation

Let’s dive in!


Scope refers to the controls measures implemented as a means to solidify processes in place to meet regulatory, food safety and consumer demands or requirements. Regardless of the size or complexity of your business, ISO 22000 is applicable to any organization directly or indirectly involved in the food chain.

Normative References

Materials used to determine definitions of terms used in the formal ISO standard document.

Terms & Definitions

Provides clarity of terminology used in the ISO standard document and promotes the use of common language.

Context of the Organization

Ensures that your organization understands the internal and external issues that may affect the goals of its Food Safety Management System, or FSMS. Such issues can be legal, technological, competitive, cultural, social, economic, and more. A critical step in determining this context is to consider all regulatory requirements, customer requirements, and product specifications that you may have to include as part of your Food Safety Management System.


Here, ISO 22000 discusses management commitment and having a Food Safety Policy that clearly describes the organization’s responsibility to produce a safe and legal product. The policy itself is a quick way to show the site’s commitment to comply with regulatory and customer requirements. This section also reviews organizational roles, employee responsibilities, and naming the authorities who determine things like what to do when members of your food safety team are on vacation.


Here, you identify what the significant issues within your facility are that need mitigation.

You define the objectives of your Food Safety Management System and how you plan to achieve them. This section also looks at how you plan to deal with changes in your organization or facility – anything from a change in management to the addition of new equipment.


First, this means resources – whether it be human, financial, infrastructure or technical – and what improvements companies may have to make to them, such as updating equipment or adding people to the workforce. Competence, which defines the type of training to provide to your employees to ensure they can perform their assigned duties also falls under this umbrella.

Next is awareness, which refers to the idea that your employees understand the responsibilities of their position. Another aspect of support is communication. There’s internal, which includes discussion between the facility’s employees, departments, subsidiaries, or corporate offices – and there’s external, which includes dealing with customers, certification bodies, certification program owners, and regulatory agencies like FDA or USDA.

Finally, the documented information part outlines parameters for you to ensure that things like records are created, completed, and updated properly. Consider not only internal SOPs but documentation for external customers such as supplier specifications or customer expectations as applicable.


Describe the operational planning and control, which is primarily your Food Safety Plan, as well as PRPs and your traceability system. This section also takes into account emergency preparedness and response. Known in some cases as business continuity, this requires a program to deal with either man-made or natural disasters. Section 8 also discusses any updates you may make to product specifications, PRPs, or HACCP; the control of monitoring and measuring activities; and verification. Finally, there’s control of product and process nonconformities, also known as nonconformity deviation.


Understanding the requirements of FSSC standard basis – ISO 22000 and ISO 22002 TS can aid in your journey to certification. For further clarification and a complete picture of ISO 22002 TS and FSSC 22000 program certification requirements, consider Zosi’s online FSSC 22000 course.

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