Certification Against A GFSI-Recognised Scheme
GFSI is, in part, a benchmarking organisation that has recognised a number of food safety management schemes that fulfill the criteria that a group of multi-stakeholders have identified in the GFSI Guidance Document as covering best food safety practice. GFSI is not a scheme in itself, and neither does it carry out any accreditation or certification activities.
Recognition of Schemes
A scheme is ‘recognised’ by GFSI when it meets internationally recognised minimum food safety requirements, developed by multi stakeholders, which are set out in the GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition.
The status of recognition is achieved through a comprehensive benchmarking process. An independent committee, including an independent chairman, a retailer, a manufacturer or producer and the GFSI secretariat is convened to conduct a preliminary screening of the application. If the application is accepted, then it will be reviewed in further detail by the Benchmarking Committee. At this point, the scheme owner will be invited to participate in the deliberations. Once the Benchmarking Committee is satisfied that the application meets the requirements of GFSI, a written consultation period will ensue with the Benchmarking Committee. The benchmarking committee will recommend that the GFSI Board either accept, reject or reject until further modifications to the scheme are made. The Board will review the documentation and make its decision. Once the GFSI Board of Directors has granted formal recognition to a standard, this standard is deemed to meet all of the requirements in the Guidance document.
Achieving Certification Against a GFSI-Recognised Scheme
Certification to a GFSI recognised scheme is achieved through a successful third party audit against any of the schemes listed above. To become certified to a GFSI recognized scheme:
This system provides a high degree of confidence that food safety management systems are adequately designed, implemented and maintained. Furthermore, suppliers can benefit from the concept of “once certified, accepted everywhere”, as the certificates gained from an audit to any GFSI recognised scheme are accepted by many international and regional/national retailers or suppliers. Suppliers also benefit from a reduction in the number of audits.
GFSI Does Not
Many retailers around the world have adopted the GFSI principles and will accept the suppliers they work with to be certified against any GFSI recognised scheme. GFSI's ultimate aim is to truly achieve the 'once certified, accepted everywhere' approach, whereby a facility being certified against ANY of the GFSI-recognised schemes would then be accepted by each and every buying company clients.