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COVID-19: Frequently asked questions

ProCert proposes two new FAQ sections "COVID-19" and "COVID-19 GFSI" dedicated to the most frequently asked questions about the standards recognized by GFSI and other standards. This compilation can be adapted to current conditions at any time (situation as of April 1st, 2020).

In order to answer the many questions that our customers have in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis, we have created two new FAQ sections "COVID-19" and "COVID-19 GFSI" dedicated to the new coronavirus and its consequences in the various areas of certification.

These sections will be regularly updated according to the evolution of the situation and following the decisions taken by the various official bodies.

The remote audit as a real alternative

As a result of the current crisis with the coronavirus, direct contacts have to be reduced to a minimum and on-site audits have proved difficult or even impossible. Remote audits are the solution.

A rapid return to normality is not to be expected. A large number of audits are postponed or cancelled. This does not have to happen: remote audits can be carried out.

Possible for all standards?

All standards except IFS Food, BRC GS Food and FSSC 22000.

How does that work in practice?

ProCert has set out the organisation and implementation of remote audits in the collaboration guide. The collaboration guide is available to all clients on the ProCert Portal. 

ProCert offers free information webinars for clients (see webinars) 

For further information, clients can contact the ProCert contact persons, programme managers and market directors. 

FSSC Version 5: additional requirements

FSSC has approved and published additional requirements to ISO 22000:2018,which are mandatory with the V5 protocol.

For food chain categories C, D, I, G and K

In addition to ISO 22000:2018 clause 7.1.6 “Control of externally provided processes, products or services”, the organization shall have a procedure for procurement in emergency situations to ensure that products still conform to specified requirements and the supplier has been evaluated.

Interpretation: emergency situations are for example the disruption of the supply of a raw material by a supplier, in which case the organization must procure from another supplier that has not been approved under standard approval procedures.

The emergency procurement process must be able to assess the risk of such a procurement and propose adequate controls and checks to mitigate that risk, such as

  • A more thorough inspection of incoming lots
  • Require more detailed analysis reports
  • Carry out sampling for broader analysis
  • Applying detailed and formally accepted specifications
  • Require evidence of third party certification

For food chain category I (packaging)

In addition to ISO 22000:2018 clause 8.5.1.3 “Characteristics of end products”, the organization shall have specified requirements in place in case packaging is used to impart or provide a functional effect on food (e.g. shelf life extension).

For food chain category CI (Processing of perishable animal products)

  • In addition to ISO/TS 22002 1:2009 clause 9.2, the organization shall have a policy for the procurement of animals, fish and seafood which are subject to control of prohibited substances (e.g. pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines, heavy metals
  • In addition to ISO/TS 22002 1:2009 clause 10.1, the organization shall have specified requirements for an inspection process at lairage and/or at evisceration to ensure animals are fit for human consumption.
  • In addition to ISO/TS 22002 1:2009 clause 16.2, the organization shall have specified requirements in place that define post slaughter time and temperature in relation with chilling or freezing of the products.

FSSC 22000 Version 5: Important modifications

The new version 5 of the FSSC 22000 contains certain modifications of importance. We summarise the most important points below.

90-day deadline for corrections

From now on, corrections must be implemented within 90 days after the audit. Evidence must be uploaded on the ProCert Portal. If this deadline is not met, we are required by the FSSC to suspend the certificate.

Procedure in case of critical and major non-conformities

  • In case of confirmed critical non-conformities, the certificate must be immediately suspended for a maximum period of 6 months. A post-audit must be performed.
  • In case of major non-conformities, corrective actions must be implemented within 28 days, with a possible on-site audit. If this deadline of maximum 28 days is not met, the certificate must be suspended.

New requirements with ISO 22000:2018 on the subject of interested parties

If there are any problems interpreting the new ISO 22000:2018 Standard: we have published a few examples of topics from interested parties for our customers on the ProCert Portal.

Obligation to provide information

Customers must inform us of any changes in their organization. In the past, this concerned only food safety issues.