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GFSI Background

The Global Food Safety Initiative was set up in 2000 to pursue continuous improvement in our food safety systems. Harmonising worldwide food safety standards would increase transparency and efficiency in the supply chain, cut costs and provide assurance of safe food for consumers worldwide. Retail quality managers could accept their supplier’s products without having to carry out numerous audits as long as these suppliers meet the requirements of a standard which has been recognized by GFSI. Suppliers would only need one audit a year, and not have several audits for different standards.

GFSI Benchmarking Background

Back in 2000, food safety was a top of mind issue for companies due to several high-profile recalls, quarantines and negative publicity about the food industry. There was also extensive audit fatigue through the industry, as retailers performed inspections or audits themselves or asked a third party to do this on their behalf. These were often carried out against food safety schemes that lacked international certification and accreditation, resulting in incomparable auditing results.

CEOs of global companies came together at The Consumer Goods Forum (CIES at the time) and agreed that consumer trust needed to be strengthened and maintained through a safer supply chain. GFSI was created to achieve this through the harmonisation of food safety standards that would drive reduce audit duplication throughout the supply chain. At the time, there was no existing scheme that could be qualified as “global” that could be adopted by all. GFSI therefore 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.


  • Benchmark existing food safety standards that are used from the farm and also at the food processing level.
  • Compare exiting standards against the requirements that have been put together by all the actors in the food supply chain.

These criteria are outlined in the GFSI Guidance Document. Any standards that are recognised against GFSI have to have as a minimum the same requirements that you can find in the Guidance Document.


  • Make policy for retailers or manufacturers
  • Make policy for standard owners
  • Undertake any accreditation or certification activities
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