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What is GFSI?

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a non-profit making foundation, created under Belgian law in May 2000. The daily management of GFSI is undertaken by The Consumer Goods Forum.

GFSI benchmarks existing food standards against food safety criteria, and also looks to develop mechanisms to exchange information in the supply chain, to raise consumer awareness and to review existing good retail practices.

What does GFSI do?

Primarily Benchmarking

Within GFSI, benchmarking is a “procedure by which a food safety-related scheme is compared to the GFSI Guidance Document,” a copy of which can be found on www.globalfoodsafetyinitiative.com.  The process is intended to be executed in an independent, unbiased, technically proficient and transparent manner. The GFSI Board Benchmarking a scheme successfully means that all recognized schemes have a common foundation of requirements which should provide consistent results, in regard to the common requirements applied during the audit, but the benchmarked schemes cannot be considered as equal.

Reductions in audits through common acceptance

Under the umbrella of GFSI, 8 major retailers came to a common acceptance of the GFSI benchmarked food safety schemes in June 2007.

Each scheme has now aligned itself with common criteria defined by food safety experts from the food business, with the objective of making food production and manufacture as safe as possible. As a result, this will also drive cost efficiency in the supply chain and reduce the duplication of audits. The GFSI vision of ‘once certified, accepted everywhere’ became a reality. In addition to the original retailers Carrefour, Tesco, ICA, Metro, Migros, Ahold, Wal-Mart and Delhaize who agreed to reduce duplication in the supply chain through the common acceptance of any of the four GFSI benchmarked schemes, many other food service, retail and manufacturing companies have now joined this approach.

While GFSI encourages businesses within the retail, food service and manufacturing sectors to choose GFSI recognized schemes, these businesses can make individual choices whether or not to implement the program. Whilst choosing a GFSI recognized scheme may be a large investment for a business initially, the number of audits is expected to be reduced significantly after implementation. Additionally, an outside customer may require specific audits, but under the GFSI framework only one scheme would be required.

 
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