Overview of Global Food Safety Standards and Codes of Practice

June 6, 2023 | food safety

There are few issues that impact the global food production and packaging community as universally as food safety. Decades of education and experience have given rise to many systems, standards and codes of practice for ensuring food safety.

While standards may differ in their approach regarding specific geographic regions, industries, and food categories, all are designed to protect brands and end-consumers from physical, chemical and biological contaminants.

Continue reading to learn the most common global food safety standards and codes of practice, and dive into more detail about why food safety is critical to operational efficiency, product safety and the bottom line.

Food Safety Statistics

The Sedgwick brand protection recall index is a leading resource for manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers looking for unbiased product safety trends and recall data. The U.S. State of the Nation 2023 Index Report revealed many factors contributing to US-based product recalls, here are some of the highlights related to food safety. 
For USDA-regulated foods—which are meat, poultry, and processed egg products—the top reason for recalls was contamination with foreign materials.
In January 2023, the FDA issued 37 food recalls. Foreign materials were the leading cause of recalls by units with 5.92 million, accounting for 65.5% of the total number of units recalled.


In 2022, the FDA issued more than 400 recalls in the food industry. According to the data shown above, 24 percent of those recalls resulted from foreign object contamination. 
Contamination is always an area of concern in the food industry and is one of a few reasons why many organizations build food safety programs in compliance with food safety standards. 

What is HACCP? The Gold Standard of Food Safety

One program has become a common element of the most successful food safety programs: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, informally known as HACCP.
Created in the 1960’s, HACCP (pronounced “ha-sip”) was developed by the Pillsbury Company to ensure the consistency and quality of foods for space flights. The goal was to create a means of reviewing a process and recognizing potentially dangerous situations or circumstances rather than evaluating hazardous results after they’ve happened. The result was HACCP, which the FDA defines as “a systematic method based on risk-assessment to identify and prevent hazards.”

Replacing the reactive approaches of the past, HACCP represents a proactive approach to ensuring food safety and security that demonstrates to regulatory agencies and customers that a processor is taking the appropriate precautions to ensure product safety.

Today, HACCP is a foundational, and in many cases a required, element of countless food safety management programs worldwide. Suitable for new processes as well as updating old ones, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) calls HACCP “a logical tool for adapting traditional inspection methods to a modern, science-based, food safety system.” And while HACCP initially focused on biological contamination prevention, HACCP principles are utilized to identify and control physical contamination in food products, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.

Common Standards Relating to Food Safety

Food safety standards range from high-level guides to highly detailed specifications created by standards bodies, government, industry, food producers, and retailers. Requirements can vary by region, food product/package, and producer. The following list illustrates some of the most common standards, with links to more detailed information.




Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) logo


Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a systematic, preventive approach to food safety based on hazards in production processes that can cause the finished product to be unsafe.

GMP-CertifiedGood Manufacturing Processes (GMPs) logo


Good Manufacturing Processes (GMPs) are the basic operational and environmental conditions required to produce safe food. They ensure that ingredients, products and packaging materials are handled safely and that food products are processed in a suitable environment.

 International Organization for Standardization logo


ISO 22000 is a standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization focused on food safety. It is a general derivative of ISO 9000.

 International Featured Standard (IFS) Logo


The International Featured Standard (IFS) is a unified control standard for quality and safety systems and applies to all levels of production in which food is processed. It requires a company’s food safety management system to be a fully implemented, systematic and comprehensive HACCP based plan, following the Codex Alimentarius principles and any legal requirements of the production and destination countries which may go beyond these principles.



The BRCGS standard helps companies demonstrate their commitment to product safety, quality, and legal compliance. It also provides a framework for managing product integrity, legality, and quality, which can help companies consistently deliver products and services that meet customer, statutory, and regulatory demands.
Marks and Spencer Code of Practice (COP) logo


Marks and Spencer Code of Practice (COP) ensures appropriate risk assessments, preventative measures and controls are in place to prevent metal contaminants entering Marks & Spencer products. Suitable detection systems, such as metal detector/X-ray systems must be in place for all Marks & Spencer food products. (confidential, link only available to suppliers)

Why Food Safety Standards Are Critical for Brands and Consumers

Implementing and enforcing food safety standards is essential for production efficiency and consumer health and safety. Advances in production technology, preservation, and transportation allow manufacturers to produce and distribute massive volumes of products across vast distances. As such, a single food contamination issue can have dramatic impact on consumers and brands.

Food Safety Recalls 2022 and 2023

Here are a few examples of food safety-related recalls from the first quarter of 2023 and the last quarter of 2022 according to Food Safety News:

  • Pepsico Inc. is recalling 25,200 cases (12 bottles per case) of Starbucks frappuccino Vanilla drinks because of glass in the product. The products were distributed throughout the U.S.

  • Groupe Phoenicia Inc. is recalling Cedar Phoenicia brand Pindjur Vegetable Spread because of pieces of glass found in the product. The products were sold in Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, and Quebec, Canada.

  • Swedish cake producer, Almondy, is recalling certain Almondy chocolate cakes with Daim distributed to IKEA stores because a metal object was found in a cake.

  • Home Run Inn Frozen Foods is recalling nearly 13,100 pounds of frozen meat pizzas due to potential metal contamination.

  • Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp. of Sioux Center, IA, is recalling 185,610 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) bacon topping products that may contain extraneous metal.

In addition to threatening public health, food product contamination issues can also be damaging to manufacturers.

According to the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the average cost of a food product recall is $10 million, which doesn’t include losses in sales due to brand reputation damage and loss of consumer loyalty.


Metal detectors and X-ray inspection machines are integral elements of any food safety program. It is, however, critical to review your facility’s safety standards to ensure that you’re using systems that will fit the parameters of your production lines and meet your compliance requirements. CASSEL Inspection offers expert technical support to help you select, install, and maintain the best metal detection and X-ray systems for your food safety compliance needs.

Comparing the Capabilities of Metal Detectors and X-ray Inspection Systems

Metal detectors and X-ray inspection systems are the most common CCPs for physical contaminants. They utilize vastly different technologies to find foreign objects though, so selection of each depends on the type of hazards you have, the control limits you set and the place in the line the CCP is installed. X-ray inspection in general has superior detection capability compared to metal detectors, but is also more costly, has a shorter lifespan and cannot be used in extremely harsh factory conditions. If in doubt, work with your product inspection vendor to run tests utilizing both technologies to compare performance. Review overall lifecycle cost too, then you can make an informed decision. Note that some high-quality retailers/customers may demand that X-ray inspection be used for the ultimate brand protection.

Do you want to detect up to 50% smaller metal fragments? The Shark® MultiSense™ is the right choice for your challenging application. See our new technology now.

Detection comparison for metal detectors and X-ray systems

Contaminant Type Metal Detector (MD) X-ray Systems (XR) Comments

Ferrous Metal

3 Green Circles 3 Green Circles Ferrous, Non-Ferrous, Stainless Steel detection varies with MD (i.e. SS most difficult). Product effect for the MD (i.e. water, salt, minerals) and XR (i.e. density, texture) will impact performance too.

Non-Ferrous Metal

2 Green Circles 3 Green Circles  

Stainless Steel

1 Green Circle 3 Green Circles  


1 Green Circle 3 Green Circles Low density foil impossible for XR. Density similar to glass. Conductivity easier for MD.


1 Green Circle 2 Green Circles MD may miss detection due to orientation. XR depends on length/width.


1 Red Square 1 Green Circle Depends on the glass composition. Glass size typically > 2.5 X metal.

Rock - Mineral Stone

1 Red Square 1 Green Circle Depends on type and density

Calcified Bone

1 Red Square 1 Green Circle XR only.


1 Red Square 1 Green Circle Depends on type and size

Wood, pits, shells, Insects etc.

1 Red Square 1 Red Square Not conductive for MD, not dense enough for XR

From foods to pharmaceuticals, any safety standards program can be enhanced with industrial metal detectors and X-ray inspection machines from CASSEL Inspection.

To learn more about the impact of food contamination on brands or how metal detectors and X-ray inspection machines help ensure complete consistent safety and quality in your products, contact our team directly.

2022 food safety statistics