The firm offers ten Consolidated Standards for Inspection, tailored to industry segment requirements.
Some standards will be updated throughout 2016 and others in 2017. Each will be implemented in the year following the release to give companies time to prepare.
A total of 5,000 plants and more than 119 different countries use the standards, said AIB.
The standards are updated to keep current with regulations, best practices and industry trends, cover and address new programs to manage threats as they arise (e.g. economically motivated adulteration), reinforce risk based rather than a prescriptive approach and eliminate unnecessary parts to maintain inspection focus.
Standards as basis of inspection
Susan Hancock, VP of innovation and product development, said the standards serve as the foundation for the AIB International GMP Inspection.
“Any food manufacturer, handler or processer can use the standards as a guideline to ensure their sites are using food safe best practices,” she told FoodQualityNews.
“When an AIB Food Safety Professional inspects a facility during a GMP Inspection, the site benefits from having a third-party professional review their food safety practices and programs and offer recommendations and directions on how to improve.”
Hancock said GFSI schemes and the Consolidated Standards are complementary with AIB offering both services.
“An AIB International GMP Inspection is a thorough physical review to assess food safety conditions,” she said.
“A GFSI Audit is a systematic evaluation of management programs to determine if a facility to managing to plan.
“FSMA is incorporated into our Consolidated Standards as modules that will be added to the inspection of North American facilities as well as those of companies that export to the US.”
The standards are updated every three years but this revision was delayed one year to ensure that FSMA regulation was included.
They include five categories that address Operational Practices, Maintenance, Cleaning, Integrated Pest Management and Adequacy of the Programs (which also includes the documentation review). Each category consists of a series of standards with related requirements.
During the previous update, the first four standards including Prerequisite & Food Safety Programs, Beverage facilities, Distribution Centers and Food Contact Packaging facilities, were put in production on 1 January 2013 and other Consolidated Standards were used for inspections since the beginning of 2014.
During this revision, the new standards will be used for GMP Inspections from 1 January 2017 for Prerequisite & Food Safety Programs, Beverage facilities, Distribution Centers, Food Contact Packaging facilities and Non-Food Contact Packaging facilities, and 1 January 2018 for the rest of AIB’s Standards.
Food safety ranking
Elina Zerva, global innovation manager, said: [The standards] may be used by individual plants that want to identify their weaknesses and improve, by a client who wants to check their suppliers and be sure that they are provided safe and wholesome foods/ingredients/packaging etc., or on corporate level to check multiple production sites and see how they rank in terms of their applied food safety programs and motivate them for continuous improvement.
“The five categories include requirements that cover all areas of responsibility for a plant, specific to the industry type, including reception of goods/processing/packaging/storage/shipping.
“If applied effectively they help the plant minimize their risk of food safety contamination and exceed their customers’ expectations for providing wholesome and safe products.
“The requirements included in the standards are either critical to food safety or provide guidelines for best practice (and are described as minor).”
The Consolidated Standards for Inspection of Prerequisite and Food Safety Programs are available for purchase on AIB International’s website.