The ISO/PC 308, Chain of custody committee will simplify traceability in the supply chain by using a uniform ISO language globally.
Knowledge and tracking of product characteristics (e.g. origin, sustainability traits and/or manufacturing process) is increasingly important and demanded by consumers, said ISO.
Traceability and transparency provide reassurance and a better understanding of production characteristics to reduce risks to health, safety and quality, added the standards organization.
Importance for certification and quality assurance
A reliable chain-of-custody (CoC) management system is important for certification and quality assurance schemes.
The sheer number of CoC systems and programmes adds unnecessary layers of administration, increasing costs and pushing smaller companies out of international markets.
Rob Busink, chair of ISO/PC 308, said the proliferation of traceability systems and definitions is causing unnecessary confusion, complexity and costs for players in different supply chains.
“The proposed generic chain-of-custody standard will define supply chain models and the respective traceability levels and specific requirements related to administration, conversion rates and physical handling activities, thus simplifying market access by using a uniform language and criteria throughout the supply chain," he said.
“It is hoped that existing and new certification schemes will be able to refer to the ISO standard for the terminology regarding chain-of-custody requirements, thus simplifying the conformity assessment for those various product certifications and reducing unnecessary duplication or misunderstanding.”
Organizations and chain-of-custody experts interested in being involved in development of the standard should contact their national ISO member.
FSSC 22000 accepted by NVWA
Meanwhile, FSSC 22000 has been accepted by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).
FSSC 22000 said acceptance was a ‘major step forward’ in public-private cooperation and alignment within the Dutch food industry.
Hans Beuger, senior public health officer at NVWA, said three GFSI recognized food safety schemes are available for industry.
“We expect the industry to take action to raise and secure food safety in the supply chain. The next step is to establish a long term public-private cooperation with scheme owners in order to strengthen the supply chain, exchange information where necessary and support official controls.”
After the horsemeat scandal in 2013, it became clear that food safety and integrity had to be better safeguarded.
The Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Dutch State Secretary of Economic Affairs, with the meat, dairy and animal feed sectors, created a taskforce to restore consumer confidence.
Joseph Scimeca, chair regulatory affairs task force GFSI, said: “The NVWA is blazing the path for other governmental regulatory authorities to recognize the merits of GFSI-benchmarked schemes, the private assurance system and the benefit of utilizing accredited certifications in helping with the deployment of national inspectional resources, which ultimately leads to a strengthening of the food safety system.”