Many of us read headlines in the news. Maybe we don’t read the stories because of their sensationalism, but many of us do remember reading the headlines anyway.
There was a time not too long ago that the Mexican casual-dining chain, Chipotle, got into the headlines quite a bit, but not for good things.
For several months, hundreds of people got sick from foodborne illness that had centered around Chipotle restaurants. The failure to gain a handle on the problem dramatically affected business and the company is now hanging by a thread because of it. This public-health and public-relations nightmare generated a lot of behind-the-scenes consternation and some action in regards to food safety adjustments to protect others from suffering the same fate.
One of the main discussions in recent months since the Chipotle Crisis revolved around revising some food handling and safety standards, certainly before the FDA or Congress takes laws and regulations into their own hands. The challenge has been to figure out where the food-safety hazards in the Chipotle case came from, and then what to do about them.
While there are standards fo food-handling and safety al along the supply chain – from farm to the plate – there is an overall food-management system standard that needs to be addressed that would bring security and more stability to the entire system in which food is present.
A working group was assembled last summer to put ISO 22000, Food Safety Management System, under a revision that was expected to manage lessons learned from the Chipotle Crisis and keep these kinds of outbreaks from happening in the future. A new final rule was due out earlier this year, with the working group looking at several risk-based approaches to food management and spelling out the differences so they can be more easily understood and guidance can be applied for each approach to determine the most effective for each part of the food supply chiain.
In a statement, the ISO said, “Food safety can only be ensured through the combined efforts of all parties alng the food chain, from feed producers and primary produceers through food manufacturers, transport and storage operators and subcontractors, to retailers.”
It is added that the revision includes some plan-do-check-act cycles to provide clarification in applying the process to food-safety management.