What is FSSC 22000?

Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000) is a robust, ISO-based, internationally accepted certification scheme for auditing and certification of food safety in the whole supply chain. FSSC 22000 uses the existing standards ISO 22000, ISO 22003 and technical specifications for sector PRPs, which were developed through a wide and open consultation with a large number of related organizations. ISO 22000 certified manufacturers can obtain full GFSI accepted FSSC 22000 certification by meeting the requirements of technical specifications for sector PRPs and the additional scheme requirements.

FSSC 22000 has been developed for the certification of food safety systems of the organizations in the food chain which process or manufacture animal products, perishable vegetal products, products with a long shelf life and (other) food ingredients like additives, vitamins and bio-cultures and food packaging manufacturing.

Only certification bodies which have entered into an agreement with FSSC 22000 are licensed to issue accredited FSSC 22000 certificates. The FSSC 22000 certification scheme is fully recognized and accepted by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and by the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA). The independent, non-profit Foundation for Food Safety Certification, based in the Netherlands, retains the ownership and the copyright of the scheme and issues the license agreements for certification bodies.

Benefits of the FSSC certification scheme

  • ISO-based supply chain approach.
  • GFSI accepted.
  • Use of existing, independent, international standards. (ISO 22000, ISO 22003 and technical specifications for sector PRPs.)
  • ISO/IEC 17021 accreditation (system a process approach).
  • Wide scope: food manufacturing, Food Packaging design, development and manufacturing and manufacture of animal feed stuffs
  • Stakeholder approval and commitment to drive certification(industry, retailers, ngo-s, etc)
  • In depth, rigorous process based food safety audits, focused at all levels of the production process, using a systematic approach with continuous improvement, driven by top management
  • Independent scheme management with IAF oversight
  • Transparency at all levels
  • Nonprofit management by the Foundation for Food Safety Certification
  • Recognized by the European cooperation for Accreditation (EA)


The FSSC 22000 certification scheme sets out the requirements for certification bodies to develop, implement and operate the FSSC 22000 certification and to guarantee its impartiality and competence. FSSC 22000 sets out the requirements to assess food safety systems of organizations throughout the food chain and to issue globally recognized certificates.

The FSSC 22000 certificate proves that the food safety systems of such organizations are in full compliance with all the FSSC 22000 requirements including any pre requisite requirements. The added value for an organization with an FSSC 22000 certified food safety system lies in the efforts made by the organization to maintain such system and its commitment to continuously improve its performance supported by regular third party assessments and reviews.


FSSC 22000 is to be used for auditing and certification of food safety systems of organizations in the food chain which process or manufacture:

  • perishable animal products (i.e. meat, poultry, eggs, dairy and fish products);
  • perishable vegetal products (i.e. fresh fruits and fresh juices, preserved fruits, fresh vegetables, preserved vegetables);
  • products with long shelf life at ambient temperature (i.e. canned products, biscuits, snacks, oil, drinking water, beverages, pasta, flour, sugar, salt);
  • (bio)chemical manufacturing (i.e. vitamins, additives and bio-cultures) but excluding technical and technological aids;
  • food packaging manufacturing (i.e. direct, indirect contact with the food).
  • The manufacture of food and feed for animals (aims to ensure confidence in animal food and feed production by collecting good practices for the manufacture and distribution of animal food feed and ingredients)


FSSC 22000 includes transportation and on site storage if part of the operation (e.g. cheese ripening). It is applicable to all organizations in the food chain, regardless of size and complexity, profit-making or not, public or private. On the FSSC website a scope guidance document can be found, see www.FSSC22000.com for details In line with the GFSI ambition to expand the GFSI scope, FSCC 22000 is ready for new scopes as and when new technical specifications for sector PRPs has been realized and enough customer demand is evident. It is expected that following successful implementation of PAS 223 (Design and development of food packaging) and PAS 222 (The manufacture of food and feed for animals) other sectors such as transportation, storage, and distribution will quickly follow?

Flexible approach

Organizations that already hold accredited ISO 22000 certification can choose to use an ISO 22000 surveillance audit or additional on-site audit to confirm compliance to the ISO 22000 requirements, the applicable technical specification for sector PRPs and the additional FSSC 22000 requirements have been met.

If this is confirmed and reported in the correct format by a certification body meeting the FSSC 22000 requirements (and contacted to the FSSC), a FSSC 22000 certificate will be issued for the remainder of the validity of the existing ISO 22000 certificate if all rules. It should be noted that the validation of existing certificates will also include verification of ISO 22000 auditor qualification and audit duration against FSSC 22000 rules as well as evidence of applicable PAS compliance.

Organizations that already hold un-accredited or no ISO 22000 certification can choose to carry out an FSSC 22000 audit, (stage one and stage two) including ISO 22000, the applicable technical specification for sector PRPs and the additional FSSC requirements. Successfully completing this process will result in the issuance of a FSSC 22000 certificate with a validity of three years, which will be subject to regular third party surveillance visits.

Organizations that want to integrate quality in their management system should use the requirements of ISO 9001, benefits can be gained from the development of QMS based processes as they contribute in areas such as continuous improvements, corrective actions, measurements systems, corrective and preventative actions, document control, etc.

Certification bodies

Only certification bodies associated to the Foundation are licensed to issue accredited FSSC certificates. This licensing process includes oversight from IAF regulated accreditations bodies, that ensure the Foundation and regulatory requirements have been met. Their mark as well as that of the foundation can be found on any accredited organizations certificate.

The Foundation

A data base of certified organizations, can be found at the Foundations web site at www.FSSC22000.com this data base is regularly used by customers looking to validate an organization certification or used to look for approved organizations of materials or finished products, this data base has over 1000 entries to date and is growing every day with newly certificated organizations A similar data base allows organizations wishing to gain FSSC 22000 certification, to check for qualified and licensed certification bodies, only certification bodies listed can provide accredited and valid certification.

How to achieve certification

NQA provides third party audits and issue certification to organizations compliant to the FSSC 22000 standard. The process of registration follows four simple steps:

  • Application for registration is made by completing the FSMS questionnaire
  • Assessment to FSSC 22000 is undertaken by NQA in two stages known as the Initial Certification Audit
  • Registration is granted by NQA and maintained by the organization.
  • Maintenance is confirmed through a program of annual surveillance visits and a three yearly re-certification audit.


Initial Certification Audit

Stage 1 – the purpose of this visit is to confirm the readiness of the organization for full assessment. The assessor will:
1. Confirm that the management systems manual conforms to the requirements of ISO 22000, FSSC 22000 and relevant PAS (i.e. 220, 222, or 223)
2. Confirm its implementation status
3. Confirm the scope of certification
4. Check PRP’s, OPRP’s, HACCP, legislative compliance and customer requirements
5. Produce a report that identifies any non-compliance or potential for non-compliance and agree a corrective action plan if required
6. Produce an assessment plan and confirm a date for the Stage 2 assessment visit.
7. Confirm date(s) for next activity

Stage 2 – the purpose of this visit is to confirm that the food safety management system fully conforms to the requirements of FSSC 22000 in practice. The assessor will:
1. Undertake sample audits of the processes and activities defined in the scope of assessment including production methods, controls, PRP’s (PAS 220:2008 requirements), HACCP plans and procedures
2. Verified personnel’s application of their knowledge of the FSMS and skill in food safety
3. Document how the system complies with the standard
4. Report any non-compliances or potential for non-compliance, observations, etc.
5. Produce a visit plan for the first surveillance visit

Please note that if any major non-conformance is identified, the organization cannot be certified until corrective action is taken and verified on site. All non conformances must be closed before certification can be issued.

GAP & compliance audits

GAP assessments are commonly used at the early stages of implementation of a FSMS and used to identify gaps between and organizations system and the requirements of the applicable standards or PAS, NQA provides a full range of GAP assessments to ISO 22000, FSSC 22000, PAS 220, PAS 222 and PAS 223 Compliance audits fills the gap between the GAP assessment and full accredited certification and provides in some cases compliance with customers requirements and is idea for organizations not wishing to maintain a fully accredited program. Program can be tailored to meet a specific customer or organizations requirements, successful audit will result in a letter of conformance but far more useful will be the auditors feedback given in the audit report and the areas of improvement only an independent review can provide.

Request a quote today for your FSSC 22000 certification.

Page content updated on 2/21/2014