Certifications for food industry: what I am required to do and how to comply with them

Compliance with certifications in the food industry is a key point to which all companies operating in the sector must pay special attention. Each food company in which food handling takes place must comply with a series of common standards that guarantee the safety of both its processes and its products.

What certifications are required in the food industry?

Compliance with a series of standards, both in terms of quality and safety, is the objective of the different certifications in the food industry. It’s about prestigious complements within the sector that are added to the regulations. They are aimed at markets, public administrations and, finally, users.

FSSC 22000

Certifications are a key issue in the food industry

This Food Safety Certification details the characteristics that a management system must have in order to ensure that food is safe all the way from the beginning to the point of commercialisation It is a GFSI approved certification and is based on the ISO 22000 management standard and the pre-requisite programme for food safety in food production ISO-TS 22002-1 (Food) or ISO-TS 22002-4 (Packaging).

BRC Global Standard for Food Safety

Certifications are a key issue in the food industry

Also called BRC Food, it was designed by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). It provides a framework for managing various aspects of food safety. This section includes integrity, legality and quality, as well as the personal hygieneof employees and the state of the changing rooms. It indicates that suppliers comply with the health requirements of their products.

IFS Protocol (International Food Standard)

Certifications are a key issue in the food industry

The EN 45011 product certification standard ensures that food suppliers supply products that comply with legal safety requirements. It is especially used in Italy and France.


The number of certifications for industry is very wide. Some stand out, such as HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), although it is gradually being phased out, or ISO 22000. Moreover, the GLOBAL GAP Protocols or ISO 22005 for Traceability. To these, we must add the self-control protocols regulated by FACE and others such as the Letter Q Certification for Milk and Dairy Products or the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Certification.

The European Union applies European Regulation 853/2004.23 and European Regulation 852/2004 to regulate the mechanisms for compliance with hygiene prerequisites and the application of a HACCP system (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). In addition, the UNE EN 15593 Standard details the requirements that a food safety management system must comply with, in this case for suppliers and manufacturers of food packaging, including deposit and transfer.

How to comply with certifications in the food industry

Quality certifications are complements to the legislation in force in the food industry, whether at state, EU or international level. In Spain, Asociación Española de Normalización (UNE), is responsible for standardizing processes in the food industry in accordance with different regulations.

As far as certifications are concerned, there are several entities that can be used to apply for them. One of the main ones is AENOR (Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification), although others such as Intertek, SGS or Gemina are worth mentioning. Certifications are obtained when there is a certain degree of compliance with a series of aspects evaluated by the certificate.

What happens if you do not comply with the certifications?

Failure to comply with current certifications in relation to food hygiene and handling has direct implications for product safety. A company’s reputation is at stake in case of an incident in this area.

Certifications in the food industry attest not only to the fact that a company in the sector adheres to high standards of hygiene, safety and quality in its processes, but also that it is efficient in the use of its resources and is therefore able to identify cost savings and be highly competitive.