SQF / FSSC 22000 / BRCGS / ISO 22000 Document Control
Document control is the process of managing and maintaining all Food safety system-related documents in a systematic manner. This involves ensuring that all documents are up-to-date, accurate, and readily accessible to all relevant parties.
What documents do we need?
Food Safety Manual
A summary of how your company is going to meet the requirements of the food safety standard (such as SQF FSSC 22000…). It refers to your procedures. A top-level manual like this is optional but is a useful document.
Use procedures to explain how your company will meet a specific requirement of the standard. For example, a Document Control Procedure will explain how you control the documents and records.
GMP Procedures or Tables
These documents will define the processes you use to meet the requirements for the Good Manufacturing Practices (SQF), or Prerequisite Programs (FSSC 22000).
Records are data and information that show results or provide evidence of activities performed. The records show that you are complying with your procedures, work instructions, and other food safety management system processes and documentation.
Why are they important?
- explain your food safety processes to those in your company so everyone is working from the same information.
- facilitate communication and consistency within the organization
- record any changes to the processes. Everyone works from the most recent version.
- show the auditor how your system is meeting the requirements, so they can provide your certification.
How do we do it?
As you implement the food safety management system, you will write the documents. In many cases, a team will work together to document the process. Scroll down to view our free video tutorial.
Here are some key steps for effective document control:
- Identify all food safety management system-related documents: Start by identifying all the documents that fall under the scope of your program. These may include policies, procedures, work instructions, forms, and records.
- Establish a document control system: Develop a system for organizing, storing, and controlling access to these documents. This may involve setting up a centralized database or file system, establishing naming conventions and version control procedures, and designating document owners and approvers.
- Develop and review documents: Create or revise the documents as needed, ensuring that they are accurate, complete, and reflect the current standard/code requirements. Review all documents periodically to ensure they remain relevant and up-to-date.
- Distribute documents: Ensure that all relevant employees and stakeholders have access to the most current versions of the documents they need. This may involve providing hard copies or electronic access, depending on the preferences of the individuals and the nature of the documents.
- Train employees: Provide training to employees on the documents and document control procedures. This will help ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in maintaining the integrity of the system.
- Monitor and audit the system: Regularly monitor the document control system to ensure that it is functioning properly and that all documents are being properly maintained. Conduct internal audits of the system periodically to identify any areas that may need improvement.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your document control system is effective and helps you maintain compliance with requirements.
Registrar Corp offers downloadable, ready-to-customize document template packages. See below for the packages available and click for more information on each.
Who should do it?
Creating the Documents
Management can assign responsibility for documenting the processes. One effective method is to use a team of those that work with the process to document it.
Approving the Documents
Your facility will define who is responsible for approving documents. It must be someone knowledgeable about the process and the food safety management system.
Controlling the Documents
Assign responsibility for document control. You may want to assign a Document Control Coordinator to:
- maintain the master list,
- revise and update documents in the document control system
- maintain the distribution of controlled documents and
- maintain the master list
Where do we keep them? What is document control?
Documents are controlled to make sure all documents are approved, maintained, stored and available to those who need to use them.
Each company will determine the method they will use to control the documents.
Many companies use software to help them control documents as well as other aspects of their food safety system.