The ISO 9000 series of standards developed from NATO defence standards, and arrived in the food industry via engineering and general manufacturing: ISO 9002 is the standard normally chosen by the food industry, although ISO 9001 may be more appropriate in some cases. Within the food industry the UK is most advanced in adopting the standards, but certification is becoming increasingly popular in the EC and Scandinavia, and considerable interest in the benefits of such systems is being shown worldwide. Several methods of attaining certification to ISO 9000 are available: the most valuable is third-party certification by a body accredited to assess in the relevant field. National accreditation councils exist or are being estblished in many countries both within and outside the EC. The interpretation of the standard by assessment bodies within the food industry means that areas necessary to protect quality, such as hygiene controls and pest control, should be included in quality systems which are intended to meet the requirements of the standard: assessors will also expect there to be a suitable product recall system. Operation of a quality system which can be demonstrated to meet the requirements of ISO 9000 can contribute to a defence under the UK Food Safety Act. © 1992.
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