Several clients asked precise questions recently about food GMPs. I asked Annie, our food production safety specialist, to clarify some key topics.
Q: What are food GMPs?
Food GMPs are the industry-specific ‘good manufacturing practices’ for food products.
These practices are the fundamental operational requirements necessary to enable a food business to produce safe food. They are about the methods, equipment, facilities, and controls for producing safe and wholesome food. They are an important part in HACCP, ISO22000, and any other food safety system.
Examples of GMP elements:
- Pest control
- Water supply
- Rubbish and internal organ disposal
- Personnel hygiene
- Warehousing and distribution
Q: Do some countries impose a food GMP standard?
Yes, many countries heavily emphasize compliance with Food GMP in all relevant food regulation and legislation.
For example, in the US, food safety has been regulated since the mid-1800s and food GMPs were specifically designed and published to replace the general GMPs in 1986.
Food GMP is the basic customer certification standards in the food business.
You can see an example here.
Q: How can a manufacturer demonstrate that they have followed GMPs?
In most countries, when you are a licensed food manufacturing company, the government licensing inspector will conduct inspections regularly to the subject premises to assess their suitability. Food GMPs serve as one basis for these inspections.
But a food license is a relatively weak proof of the implementation and effectiveness of the GMPs. Therefore, some third-party bodies provide certification services based on different international standards (GMP, HACCP, ISO22000, FSSC222000) to ensure the integrity of the food manufacturing process with GMPs.
Q: Are food GMPs separate from ISO 22000?
The idea of food GMPs is still included in ISO22000, but usually the wider term “Prerequisite programmes (PRPs)” is used.
Prerequisite programmes are the basic conditions and activities that are necessary to maintain a hygienic environment throughout the food chain — making it suitable for the production, handling, and provision of safe end products. In other words, of safe food for human consumption.
Q: Are food GMPs just for food products?
Yes, it is just for food.
However, in food safety management systems like ISO22000, the requirements are for any organization in the food chain.
That includes food logistic companies, food-contact materials suppliers, sanitation service providers, and so forth.
The GMPs might vary according to specific industries and specific countries. For example, the European Union requires manufacturers of food-contact materials (FCM) to comply with good manufacturing practices (GMP) based on Regulation (EC) No. 2023/2006.