What is the GFSI Guidance Document?

  • The GFSI Guidance Document defines the process by which food safety management schemes may gain recognition by GFSI.
  • “Scheme” is a term used to define a commercial food safety programme that includes an auditable and certifiable food safety standard and a governance and management system.
  • The requirements in the GFSI Guidance Document are firmly based on the food safety principles laid down by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) and relevant ISO standards.
  • The scope of the GFSI Guidance Document is being expanded to deliver a total supply chain approach for global companies.
  • Since 2011, the following sectors have been added: Packaging and Animal Conversion, Animal Feed and Storage & Distribution.
  • Further scope extensions are underway for Food Brokers/Agents, Retail/Wholesale, Catering, Equipment Manufacturing and Food Safety Services.
  • A full review of the GFSI Guidance Document is undertaken at least every four years, although addenda may be added at any time with the approval of the GFSI Board.
  • In between full reviews, The GFSI Guidance Document is continually updated with stakeholder feedback and reflects the evolving needs of the food industry.
  • Through this process of continuous improvement, GFSI provides and manages the process through which food safety management schemes achieve international recognition and acceptance by global retailers, manufacturers and food service operators.
  • This allows food businesses to select a food safety management system that not only fit their needs, but is recognised by retailers and manufacturers internationally, and has itself been exposed to a demanding peer assessment.

GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition Version 6.4



Download the GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition Version 6.4

Guidance Document Full Version

Guidance Document Part I: The Benchmarking Process

Specifies the process by which food safety schemes may gain recognition and gives guidance to these schemes covering:

  • the requirements for the key steps in the GFSI benchmarking process,
  • the systems and procedures relating to the GFSI benchmarking process.
  • the requirements for selection for the GFSI Benchmark Committee members,

Guidance Document Part II: Requirements for the Management of Schemes

Specifies the requirements to be put in place by a food safety scheme seeking recognition by GFSI covering:

  • requirements for eligibility of a food safety scheme to be considered for benchmarking by GFSI,
  • requirements for food safety scheme ownership and management,
  • requirements for food safety scheme supporting systems,
  • requirements for continuing recognition by GFSI, if recognition status is granted.

Guidance Document Part III: The Technical Equivalence Process for Government Owned Certification Schemes

In order to take into account the differing structure of government-owned schemes, this new category allows for the acknowledgement of a scheme's equivalence against the relevant technical requirements of the GFSI Guidance Document. It is distinguished from GFSI recognition of private schemes, which also assess the scheme's governance and operational management components.

Guidance Document Part IV: Scheme Scope and Key Elements

For each GFSI scope of recognition, this section defines:

  • Food safety management systems requirements,
  • Good Practice requirements,
  • HACCP or HACCP based requirements,

to be in place in the scheme’s standard.

Guidance Document Part V : Glossary of Terms