27 March 2020
The interpretation guideline is designed to provide an accompaniment to Issue 1 of the Standard and should be read in conjunction with the Standard. The full details of the certification process and protocol are contained within the Standard.
This document helps in the understanding of each requirement of the Standard and identifies methods of compliance. Examples are given to explain the type of documents, procedures, and level of detail that would be required by a certification auditor.
The contents of the guideline are designed to help interpret the Standard across all food sectors; however, the exact requirements for any particular product, process, or site will be specific to that industry sector and situation. Users of the guideline are therefore cautioned not to rely solely on the information provided here, but also to reconfirm needs on a product-by-product basis. Both legislative and voluntary requirements change frequently, highlighting the need for regular checks of precise requirements.
While adherence to the guideline does not specifically form part of the requirement to achieve certification to the Standard (i.e., they do not form part of the audit requirements), companies will need to demonstrate that they have taken account of the topics addressed within this guideline. Examples are given as points to consider but should always be used in the correct context relevant to the business. Practices should be able to withstand challenge by an auditor and be in line with good industry practices.
Achieving a particular requirement is based on evidence collected and observations made during the audit, and on the procedures expected within that industry sector. A non-conformity assigned by an auditor against a requirement of the Standard is an objective judgement with respect to severity and risk, and is based on the evidence seen during the audit and independently verified by the certification body management.