A recent review of case studies on food safety management systems (FSMS) in small- to medium-sized food businesses around the world has painted a picture of global FSMS developments and identified the constraints and advantages associated with their implementation.

The objective of the research was to examine the impact of food safety standards—such as FSSC 22000, Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), Prerequisite Programs (PRP), and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)—on the food industry in both developing and developed regions, globally. To learn more about the topic, 116 surveys were distributed throughout developing and developed regions worldwide across 27 primary food sectors. The surveys were divided into two categories—one that collected data before the implementation of FSMS and the other that collected data after the implementation of FSMS.

The researchers found that, after FSMS implementation, there was a significant increase in the percentage of companies that applied international standards in both developed (16.7 percent to 63.9 percent) and developing countries (26.6 percent to 48.1 percent). Certification also increased from 34.2 percent to 59.6 percent overall. Food safety culture and manager leadership efforts were increased to over 80 percent after FSMS implementation in both developed and developing countries.

The use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Multi-FSMS, Workers Training, Sustainability Programs, Food and Materials Waste, Reduction Programs, Lot Identification Traceability, Crisis Management, Food Defense Threat Assessment and Critical Control Points (TACCP) Plans, and Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment Critical Control Points (VACCP) Plans also increased after FSMS implementation for all companies. Attitudes towards food security in the region of a company’s activities were more positive after the implementation of FSMS in developing countries (53.1 percent to 78.1 percent). Fewer companies reported that FSMS implementation is an expensive and complicated task, citing economic, technological, and legislative constraints; however, there was an increase in companies reporting the unfamiliarity of FSMS to customers and consumers.

European companies reported significant increases in changes/upgrades of the FSMS standards, application of quality standards, GFSI implementations, food safety culture, and manager leadership applications. North American companies indicated a significant increase in the implementation of International FSMS, Certification, and SQF integration—changes which were not detected in Europe. For Indian companies, international FSMS application and certification saw a significant increase, larger than the gains reported for African or Latin American companies.

No significant change in the incentives to implement food safety standards were detected across different sectors before or after FSMS implementation. The processed fruit and vegetables, snacks and baked goods, foodservice, ingredients, and meat sectors reported greater constraints of unfamiliarity with FSMS standards to consumers and customers after FSMS implementation.

The researchers found that gaps in the implementation of food safety standards still exist, particularly in the areas of HACCP and microbiological standards. To ensure the effective implementation and enforcement of food safety standards, the researchers suggest that governments allocate adequate resources and strengthen their regulatory frameworks. Companies are recommended to improve food safety culture by empowering different dynamics with the aid of models, guidelines, and assessment tools.