Innovation and Risk Management Part 2 - Using ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 to manage food safety risks

By Linda Jackson on 17 September 2016

How to shorten the new product development cycle

This time is takes to get a new product to market is always a frustration. Marketing are always rushing and production are asking for more time. According to research conducted by, the reasons for the time taken is due to the challenges to innovation in the food industry, that include product design intricacies, regulatory requirements that are more rigorous and quality and production processes that are more complex. These obstacles help to explain why their research showed that the food industry is one of the few sectors where time-to-market for new products, line extensions, and reformulations is actually increasing. The marketing people, and the accountants are groaning at this point!

This is obviously not ideal and everything that can be done to shorten this time should be in place. This brings about the inevitable conflict between the food safety and quality systems and the marketing team. The battle of the sales prevention officers versus the sales creation officers.

How can ISO 9001:2015 help?

Interestingly ISO 9001:2015 devotes the largest page allocation per requirement to design and development processes.

While this may seem like unnecessary bureaucracy to the creative geniuses in your company, the need to control the process is usually validated every time I ask questions about failed launches at food safety and quality training. The embarrassed sniggers tell the stories of failed factory runs, packaging that was not ordered on time and the inevitable breakdown in communication. Great innovation not only requires a creative new product development team but experience has shown that the best way to do this, is to have some form of structured development system, with clear decision points and agreed rules on which to base go/no go decisions.

ISO 9001 breaks the new product development process up into distinct activities. Have as look at figure 1. Each stage should have defined criteria to allow that stage to be done effectively. If there is insufficient information from the customer on the new product brief, time is wasted developing the wrong product or the wrong application. All details should be given and recorded on a checklist that prompts the Sales person to ask the right question.

A design plan is essential to manage the time lines. Ordering new packaging can take weeks and this can ultimately determine the time line for the launch.

One of the phases which is often overlooked is that of factory trial. This is the validation step – can we actually do this? The challenge to NPD folks is to develop a recipe or formulation that is robust enough to cope with the rigours of day to day production. Again see the feedback loop to tweak the development.

Figure 1: The design cycle according to ISO 9001.


Note the element of risk management. By predicting what could go wrong in the design process and extending this to the production process will allow us to iron out all the glitches in time. We should talk about packaging in the first NPD meeting – not the last one as this will be too late if modifications are necessary in the production area

Ingredients for innovation success – risk management

It’s during NPD that we should ensure that all changes/new developments are carefully considered so that consumer health is not sacrificed. This is where the requirements of ISO 9001 would intersect with ISO 22000. The food safety team should table the following for discussion during innovation projects:

  • Is there a change to a known hazard?

  • Is there an increased risk of a known hazard?

  • Is it a physical, chemical, microbiological, toxicological or immunological hazard?

  • Are there a new or potential hazard?

  • Will there be a change to an operational element?

  • Is there a change to an operational element such as: cooling or heating,drying, packaging, processing time, concentration, pressure?

  • Will there be a change to a hurdle?

  • Will the change affect microbial hurdles such as: moisture/water activity, pH, organic acid content, salt/sugar levels, competitive flora, temperature?

  • Will there be a change to, or a new CCP? Will the innovation lead to a change in any critical control point (CCP) or is a new CCP required in your food safety programme?

    TIP: Make this into a checklist and include it in the NPD records.


    Better safe than sorry

    Innovation without risk management can result in devastating consequences. The largest recorded outbreak of foodborne botulism in the United Kingdom occurred in June 1989. A total of 27 patients were affected; one patient died. Twenty-five of the patients had eaten one brand of hazelnut yoghurt in the week before the onset of symptoms. This yoghurt contained hazelnut conserve sweetened with aspartame rather than sugar. The innovation changed the water activity of the hazelnut conserve thus allowing the organism to multiply. This incident is food for thought when considering sugar reduction with novel ingredients such as inulin and chicory root.

    Read more on this incident 

    In part 3, we will discuss the increased potential for a recall linked to new products.

    Share your new product dramas with us.


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