Who actually dictates the standard of compliance?
A unified global standard (the true standard) has always been with us well before the rise of various highly commercialized checklists that purport to be standards.
It has become obvious that defining the term “standard” is crucial. This term has been misused in some circles. I have personally witnessed this misuse. As a result, I feel that a proper understanding is necessary if there must be proper reactions to situations that do not meet the “standard”.
The standard and the checklist are valuable, related, but mutually exclusive product safety and quality system assessment tools.
- Is there one true product safety and quality systems assessment standard?
- Can there be more than one true standard?
- What determines and validates the true standard?
- Who determines the true standard?
The standard owners and persuaded users consider these to be true standards but, according to the stated stipulations for true standards, they are not. For example they do not have specific, unique and exact parameters that will lead every well-trained examiner to the same conclusions. Different "standard" providers introduce unique twists to their "standards" that sufficiently differentiate them from other “standards”. A seemingly plausible argument in support of the multiplicity of “standards” is the existence of multiple operations and jurisdictions. Yet each of these “standards” is singularly used to examine multiple operations in different jurisdictions.
On the other hand, however, the answer to question 1 is “yes” because we have the CODEX guidelines; a knowledge pool of HACCP Principles (including proper and complete hazard analysis/risk assessment methods); scientific knowledge, established food operation principles (Good Manufacturing Practices); scientific studies; catalogued industry best practices; etc. The proper application of this knowledge has historically proven to be effective in producing the desired results – safe and acceptable quality products. It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that this meeting place, this knowledge pool, constitutes the true standard. Other twists merely introduce unnecessary confusion and they are not the standard. Perhaps the so-called “standards” are merely guidelines as such they cannot be universally mandatory.
Answer to Question 2: