The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)’s 2019 Global Markets Awards are rapidly approaching! If you are in the process of or thinking of applying to be one of next year’s winners of this prestigious award, use the following top tips by members of the international selection committee to produce a quality application:
Tip 1: Make sure your application is completed in full on the dedicated online platform
We receive a lot of incomplete applications. It is a pity because we can see great potential in so many of them! Make sure you upload all your evidence materials and fill in the form by answering every question.
Tip 2: Ensure your application is in the appropriate language
Make sure you provide your evidence materials in one of the approved languages (English, Chinese, French, Japanese, Spanish) and answer the questions on the online application form in English. GFSI has several local groups around the world providing help to guarantee the authenticity of the evidence you upload on the online platform. This process ensures that GFSI does not have to translate each piece of evidence into English, and to collect the maximum number of application forms from different countries.
Furthermore, our selection committee members, made up of food safety experts and academics, are from all over the world. We therefore want to make sure that the answers to the questions on the online forms can be read by each member of the international jury in the fairest way. So, please make sure you describe your food safety journey by answering all the questions on the online form in English!
Tip 3: Do not underestimate your food safety journey and your potential to be rewarded
As an applicant for the Global Markets Awards, you should provide a description of your food safety journey with the Global Markets Programme as well as the progress made on improving food safety along the way. The Awards selection committee will focus on the magnitude of the steps that the organisation has taken and the efforts fueling them. They will be looking at how each organisation has leveraged the programme to create an enabling environment for safer food for consumers everywhere.
The award will be presented to an organisation for their highly significant food safety development or in recognition of a long history of outstanding contributions to food safety using the GFSI pathway to certification. We do not look for the perfect organisations, but for the ones that have made the most tremendous improvements in their food safety management systems by using the Global Markets Programme (and you don’t have to be GFSI certified!). You must demonstrate the efforts and improvements made in your organisation that have driven a stronger food safety culture by reducing food safety risks. Any developments or improvements of that kind will help the jury to judge your application in the best way. So, do not hesitate to tell us more about yourself and your food safety journey!
Tip 4: Your customer is your best help
If you have been engaged in the GFSI pathway to certification through a buyer (retailer, manufacturer), there is a high chance that they will be the best source to guide and support you during your application process. They will provide you with guidance that will help your organisation fill in the online form. In addition, your buyer will be the one to provide you with the support letter to support your application! This is a mandatory element of the application, so do not hesitate to ask for their help. As members of the GFSI family, they will be very happy to lend a hand!
Tip 5: Do not be discouraged by the number of documents requested
If you have gone through the Global Markets Programme and you have decided to improve your food safety management systems through the GFSI pathway to certification, you know that the programme is helping you improve your food safety culture by organising and improving your organisation’s food safety management system. As GFSI, we want to know how you did this and we therefore expect the necessary documents that demonstrate the efforts made as evidence of your food safety journey. All documents and questions are basic documents that any organisation using third party certification should be familiar with. These documents and questions are requested by the jury to best assess your application and the more the jury knows about you, the better!
Tip 6: Reach out to your GFSI-recognised CPOs to support you with your evidence materials if you have any doubts
GFSI, as the worldwide benchmarking organisation successfully benchmarking Certification Programme Owners (CPOs) against GFSI's Benchmarking Requirements for 17 years, lends a nameplate authority to these certifications and acts as a food safety passport throughout the global marketplace. Over the past 17 years, GFSI-recognised CPOs have become globally established and widely required in global supply chains. Seen as a stamp of approval and a signal of strong food safety standards, certification against a GFSI-recognised CPO has come to be mandatory by many buying companies as a prerequisite to doing business.The CPOs set food safety standards and develop requirements for management systems while orchestrating the certification of food operations. By undergoing benchmarking with GFSI and achieving GFSI recognition, CPOs signal a strong commitment to raising the bar across the global food supply while driving for the successful production and trade of safe food around the world for consumers.
GFSI's Global Markets Programme sets out how companies who lack or have less sophisticated food safety systems can overcome the challenge of food safety, while simultaneously reducing hazards in global food supply chains and improving market access through certification against one of the GFSI-recognised certification programmes. Therefore, the CPO with whom you have worked to do your global markets conformity assessment or to achieve your certification is the best option to help with your application.
This blog was written and contributed by:
Upstream Supply Chain Corporate Quality Manager