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Several GFSI-recognised scheme owners - now known as certification programme owners (CPOs) - at the Global Food Safety Conference

Partnerships, publications, insights, updates - countless announcements came out of the 16th Global Food Safety Conference which took place in Houston last month. One of these updates was a change in terminology in the GFSI community.

To improve clarity in communications with a broader community, the GFSI Board agreed to change the name scheme owners to certification programme owners(CPOs). The term “scheme” was not readily-understood outside a specialised audience and was sometimes associated with the negative connotation of the word’s non-technical definition. During a joint meeting in Houston, the GFSI Board, together with the CPOs, discussed several options and selected this new name.

Over the past 16 years, GFSI-recognised schemes – now GFSI-recognised certification programmes - 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 to a GFSI-recognised certification programme has come to be required 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 harmonisation for the successful production and trade of safe food around the world.

GFSI would not be the success it is today without the partnership and participation of its recognised CPOs. This was reiterated at the Conference, where BBC journalist Adam Shaw moderated a panel discussion with several of them. Attendees heard first-hand accounts from GFSI-recognised certification programme owners who spoke about the work they are doing to advance food safety. Delegates also got to hear more on the importance of working together to drive future growth and ensure consistency in food safety auditing, capacity building and effective execution.

Over the course of the coming weeks, GFSI will be carrying out this terminology update across mygfsi.com and various communications tools and documents. Please make sure to subscribe to GFSI News to get all the latest updates.

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