The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is basically a management system which helps in food safety and ensures safe delivery of food to consumers in the world. It is collaborated with different leading food safety experts like retailers, manufacturers, food safety companies and some service providers which are associated with food supply chain management. Some retailers have also identified the need of GFSI like enhancing food safety, ensuring consumer protection, and strengthening confidence in consumer.
GFSI is coordinated by consumer goods forum with almost 400 members. It was launched in Dublin, Ireland on 31st May 2000 at The CIES Annual Executive Congress. GFSI works on fulfilling food safety requirements for food safety schemes through the process known as benchmarking. In 2005 under the Belgian law the GFSI foundation was created as non- profit entity. There are certain objectives, certifications, benchmarks, accreditation, and governance which need to be discussed in this article.
Objectives of GFSI
- Converges promotion among food safety standards by maintaining benchmark processes for schemes related to food safety management.
- Cost efficiency is improved by retailers when standards of GFSI is recognized and accepted during food supply chain.
- Unique international stakeholders’ platform is provided to share the information, understandings, interactions, and knowledge related to food safety standards and practices.
Benchmarking is a procedure in which schemes related to food safety are compared with the GFSI Guidance Documents. Guidance Documents includes key elements to produce food requirements, guidance to schemes seeking compliance, requirements for the delivery of conforming schemes.
Benchmarking process has several applicants going through it and GFSI does not restrict any opportunity for schemes to be formally recognized. There are some benchmark schemes:
- Manufacturing schemes
- Primary production schemes
- Primary production and manufacturing scheme
Certification body is basically not a scheme owner to give issuance of the certifications or develop an impact or change requirements of audit. It just carries out the audit as per the scheme requirements. For the issuance of certification, the certification body must submit result to the scheme owner. It is accredited to carry out audits through on program audits. There are different certifications for every individual:
- Certified Auditor- SQF, BRC, FSSC22000
- Certified Practitioner- HACCP Training Course must be completed, should have proper understanding of SQF Code(s), must qualify “Implemented SQF Systems” exams.
- Certified Trainer- must have successful completion of “Train and Trainer” course, training experience in food safety and quality, successful implementation on SQF 2000 Systems, SQF 1000 Systems, SQF Auditor Course.
- Approved Training Provider (ATP)- ATPs are professional individuals having working knowledge of food and requires many years of training in consumer products sectors.
- The benchmarking process assures consistency in evaluating content and program.
- The audits have more review of product control procedures, process control and includes additional elements to personnel.
- All the non- conformances is to be cleared for the requirement of certification which forces the site to identify issues in order to obtain the certification.
- The documentation emphasizes the Audit.
- The paperwork emphasizes on food safety program as proof.
- Consulting is not allowed during the Audit. The auditors are extremely limited in how to improve the information to assist the plant.
The global food safety initiative is basically a private organization which was established by the Consumer Goods Forum. The GFSI maintains the standards of food safety and ensures safe food delivery. It has certain objectives which maintains benchmarks to food safety management, have improvement in cost efficiency during food supply chain and have a unique stakeholder platform. Benchmarking process is an important role with the help of GFSI Guidance document. There are some certifications which is important for every individual performing the task of GFSI management system.