In the world of food safety, acronyms seem to be everywhere. The food industry seems to love them, with a shortening of so many food industry related businesses and terms. In this blog post, I want to talk about GFSI and how it fits into the compliance and 3rd party certification process.
What does GFSI stand for?
Global Food Safety Initiative
What is the purpose of GFSI?
To continually improve food safety management systems on a global level. GFSI provides a platform for food safety experts to collaborate.
How does the GFSI impact my food business?
There are several ways GFSI can impact on your business. This is mainly through the business supply chain. In order to “do business” with a certain customer, they may require you to comply with, and be certified against, the requirements of a GFSI recognised scheme.
What is a scheme and how do they get recognised?
A scheme is a 3rd part certification standard which outlines requirements or rules for the production of safe quality food. When you get audited, you are being checked against the rules that a scheme has documented within their set of rules.
For a scheme to be recognised by GFSI, they themselves have to meet the requirements or rules that have been documented within the GFSI Guidance Document. The process is also known as benchmarking and seeks to ensure a common foundation for managing food safety.
Recognised GFSI Schemes
The following schemes are currently* recognised against GFSI Guidance Document, 6th Edition.
- BRC Global Standard for Food Safety (Fifth Edition)
- CanadaGAP (Canadian Horticultural Council On-Farm Food Safety Program)
- FSSC 22000 Food Products
- Global Aquaculture Alliance Seafood Processing Standard
- Global G.A.P
- Global Red Meat Standard (GRMS)
- IFS Food Version 5
- Safe Quality Food
- Dutch HACCP
- Synergy 22000
*As of 30 May 2012
Which scheme should you use?
It is entirely up to you and your business what scheme that you use. However, it is a good idea to check with your customer as to which one that they want you to have. Doing a little bit of research before you start writing documents and procedures and implementing within your business will save you both time and money in the long run.
If all your customer states is you can choose any GFSI recognised scheme, consider the following:
- What food industry that you operate within.
- Your production processes (high-risk, medium-risk, low-risk).
- The construction requirements in comparison with the age of your premises.
- Availability of 3rd party certification bodies (who will do the audit) located in your area.
- The level of management commitment
- The ability to meet all of the requirements set out in the scheme rules. It is suggested that you obtain a copy of the schemes standard and review the requirements.
HACCP Mentor would love to hear from you! Let us know which scheme you use and why you choose that particular one over others.