The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a private organization, established by the international trade association, the Consumer Goods Forum (CIES – The Food Business Forum at the time) in May 2000. GFSI does not undertake any certification or accreditation activities.
The GFSI specify the requirements for the recognition of food safety schemes in its GFSI Guidance Document and determines the equivalence of existing food safety standards for through an objective comparison with GFSI defined requirements. The perceived benefit to this process is that any of the GFSI recognised food safety certification schemes would be accepted by food organizations across the world, the vision: “Once certified, accepted everywhere.”
The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) is a global industry network of CEOs and senior management of over 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers and other stakeholders across 70 countries. Forum member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion, the retailer and manufacturer members directly employ nearly 10 million people with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain*.
The launch of the Global Food Safety Initiative in 2000 was a business-driven initiative for the continuous improvement of food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide. GFSI was established following a number of food safety crises including issues with BSE, Listeria and Dioxin leading to consumer confidence in food safety being at an all-time low. At the time the food industry was suffering from “audit exhaustion”, as retailers and manufacturers performed inspections or audits themselves or asked a third party to do this on their behalf. In addition, there was no cohesion within the food industry with regards to a single accepted food safety standard.
GFSI defines the food safety requirements for food safety schemes through its benchmarking requirements. Food safety certification schemes are recognised by GFSI when they have been through a procedure where the food safety certification scheme is compared to the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements. By recognizing food safety certification schemes the GFSI aims to extend the acceptance and implementation of third party certification along the entire food supply chain. Despite the BRC Food Technical Standard and Protocol for food suppliers being available, it was not likely to be globally accepted so GFSI chose to go down the route of benchmarking, developing a model that determines equivalency between existing food safety schemes, whilst leaving flexibility and choice in the marketplace.
Through its benchmarking process, GFSI allows food businesses to select a food safety management system certification scheme that is recognised by leading retailers and manufacturers internationally. GFSI Guidance Documents are drafted with input from food safety experts from all over the world and define the process by which food safety schemes may gain recognition by GFSI.
GFSI’s aim is to cover all scopes of the food supply chain “from farm to fork”. GFSI Scopes of Recognition include:
GFSI Recognised Certification Programmes
The following schemes are currently recognised by GFSI:
- PrimusGFS Standard (v2.1 – December 2011)
- IFS PACsecure, Version 1
- Global Aquaculture Alliance Seafood BAP Seafood Processing Standard
- GLOBALG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance Scheme version 5, Produce Safety Standard version 4 and Harmonized Produce Safety Standard
- FSSC 22000 – October 2011 Issue
- Global Red Meat Standard (GRMS) 4th Edition Version 4.1
- CanadaGAP Scheme Version 6 Options B, C and D and Program Management Manual Version 6
- SQF Code 7th Edition Level 2
- BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 7
- IFS Food Standard Version 6
- BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials Issue 5
- IFS Logistics Version 2.1
- BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution V3
- Portfolio Item
- BRC Global Standard for Agents and Brokers