LOS ANGELES – Overhill Farms Inc.’s food-safety systems have been certified as meeting the standards of FSSC 22000: 2010. As a result, it has become the first frozen-food manufacturer in the U.S. to receive this recognition from SGS SA – the Geneva-based inspection and verification service overseeing the standards program.

The processor is a supplier of value-added, custom prepared frozen foods for branded retail, private-label, foodservice and airline customers. Its product line includes entrées, plated meals, bulk-packed meal components, poultry and meat offerings and more.

"We are extremely proud to be the first recipient of this globally recognized certification in our industry," said James Rudis, chairman and chief executive officer of Overhill Farms.

Mr. Rudis said his company has already been notified by its major corporate customers and larger prospective customers that they will require this kind of advanced international certification from their suppliers in 2011 and beyond.

“We are pleased to be at the forefront of this international initiative, which validates the safety practices of both our production and management systems,” he added. “We believe that this early certification gives Overhill Farms an additional significant competitive advantage."

Formally known as FSSC 22000: 2010 (ISO 22000: 2005 and PAS 220: 2008), the Food Safety System Certification standard is the latest and most complete safety certification scheme for food manufacturers, according to the company. It was developed by the Netherlands-based nonprofit Foundation for Food Safety Certification. It is based on the integration of the ISO 22000:2005 Food Safety Management Systems standard, used worldwide, and Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 220, issued by the British Standard Institution.

FSSC 22000: 2010 is supported by the Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the European Union. It has been recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (G.F.S.I.), which is was established by The Consumer Goods Forum to pursue continuous improvement in food-safety management systems, cost efficiency in the supply chain and safe food for consumers worldwide.