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A food safety management system certification scheme developed by the Foundation for Food Safety Certification, FSSC 22000 is a comprehensive certification program that covers food safety management requirements for food manufacturers, packaging material manufacturers and food processors.
Required by many food retailers and manufacturers because it demonstrates that a company has a robust food safety management system in place, the certification also incorporates additional requirements for programs like Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Good Hygiene Practices (GHP).
Recently, one long-time DB Schenker customer in Canada turned to the global logistics provider for help meeting its own customers’ requirements. DB Schenker operates two regional distribution centers (DCs) for the global food and candy manufacturer. It also handles all distribution and importing for the manufacturer in Canada, including all of the customer’s food products and pet food products.
100,000 Cases Per Day
The facilities include two regional distribution centers with 900,000 square feet of space and 200 employees. The 24/7 operation ships roughly 100,000 cases per day to 700 ship-to locations from coast to coast plus the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan inbound globally, including raw materials and packaging materials from producers to the plants.
According to Fara Ali, quality assurance manager at DB Schenker, the path to FSSC 22000 certification began when the global logistic provider decided to develop an even more robust, quality system that was geared specifically towards food safety.
“Previously, we used a program called HACCP, but we felt like that wasn’t enough,” said Ali, who was hired as DB Schenker’s new quality assurance manager along with Nina Arkhipova.
The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a food safety management system that identifies, assesses and controls hazards that are significant for food safety. It provides a preventive approach to food safety focused on identifying and controlling hazards in the food production process.
The two professionals were very well qualified in the industry in terms of quality assurance in food-grade buildings, and both had manufacturing backgrounds. The next step was largely driven by the food and candy manufacturer itself, which suggested that DB Schenker get FSSC 22000 certified. The reasoning was simple: large grocers and retailers that the logistics provider serves were likely to make the certification standard for all of their suppliers.
“Instead of waiting for the certification to be mandated, we decided to tackle it proactively and get our two regional DCs certified,” said Arkhipova. “There was really no point in waiting, so we just got out ahead of the mandate and did it on our own.”
Here are the steps that DB Schenker took to get certified and what the company will do to maintain this accreditation over time:
- Developed a comprehensive food safety management system (FSMS). The first step is to develop an FSMS that meets the requirements of FSSC 22000.
- Have the FSMS audited. Once the FSMS was in place, it was audited by an accredited third-party certification body. The audit assessed the FSMS against the requirements of FSSC 22000.
- Maintain the FSMS. The certificate of conformity is valid for three years. During this time, DB Schenker must maintain its FSMS and comply with all applicable food safety regulations.
- Recertify the FSMS. After three years, DB Schenker will have to recertify its FSMS. This involves undergoing another audit by the certification body.
According to Arkhipova, DB Schenker’s local management sourced industry-trained, qualified experts in quality control and food safety. The QA team was given direction, support and freedom to make business decisions, allowing it to drive the initiative forward. A plan was made, and the team followed the plan until the goal was achieved.
“From concept to certification, our team achieved this with just eight months in both of our regional DCs,” said Ali. “Nina and I did the training and certification first, and then all our employees were trained and certified.”
“We’re expanding into a new DC right now, so our program is going to expand right along with it,” said Ali. The team wears its latest accomplishment as a badge of honor and yet one more “best in class” feather in DB Schenker’s cap. “We’re always looking for growth opportunities in the food-grade business sector,” she added, “and we know this certification is going to help us reach that goal.”