Exciting times are here again for the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements. Version 7.2 was released at our annual Global Food Safety Conference in Tokyo. I was thrilled to make this announcement and present on this topic in detail at the conference as part of the GFSI & You session on the opening day.
Over the last 17 years the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements have evolved considerably. As the food industry adapts and changes, we’re always looking to keep up to date and reflect best practices.
This latest version of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements is the strongest yet. It’s the result of a whole year of work from our team and a dedicated task force. This task force is made up of representatives from our recognised Certification Programme Owners (CPOs), Accreditation Bodies, Certification Bodies, and industry.
At the same time, we updated the Technical Equivalence documents. These documents include a formal published process and technical requirements aligned to the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements. It’s a great step towards harmonising both processes and driving forward global food safety standards in one direction.
If I had to sum up the key additions to this latest version in a few words, I'd say “improved auditor competency” and “covering the supply chain from farm to fork".
The GFSI Auditor Exam
Version 7.2 introduces the requirements for any auditors of GFSI-recognised certification programmes to have passed an exam based on the content of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements. The questions cover both sector-specific technical skills, such as HACCP and GMP as well as standard auditing skills including sampling and evidence gathering.
CPOs have nine months to translate into their programme's management processes and three years to assess all auditors.
This is a huge task.
To reduce the need for auditors to sit the exam multiple times, the clause includes a mutual recognition of exam results between CPOs. This means auditors may only have to take the exam once.
This extra stage in the process will help ensure a baseline knowledge for all auditors and thus increase further confidence in GFSI-recognised certification.
Covering the Supply Chain from Farm to Fork
In this latest version of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements, two new scopes of recognition were introduced: Catering (Scope G) and Retail & Wholesale (Scope H).
With these additions, the GFSI scopes of recognition now cover the full supply chain from farm to fork.
Our ambition is that a certified chain of custody is possible from primary production to the consumer. Each link in the chain is strengthened by certified Food Safety Management Systems and good industry practice.
A Big Thank You
Non-competitive collaboration is central part of the GFSI mission. The work undertaken by GFSI and the task force to produce the latest version of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements has also been a huge collaborative effort.
I’d like to extend a whole hearted thank you to the group who worked so hard to pull this version together.
Latest version of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements v7.2 are now available to view and download online. For more information and to download a copy, please head to the Benchmarking section of the GFSI website.
This post was written and contributed by:
Senior Technical Manager,
GFSI, The Consumer Goods Forum