Our Food Safety training expert, Cynthia Weber, explains what “Certification to a GFSI recognized standard” truly means in this short video.
What is GFSI?
The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is coordinated by The Food Business Forum CIES. This forum is a global food network made up of approximately 400 retailers and manufacturers worldwide.
GFSI does not certify organizations but has determined which food safety certifications it accepts or recognizes. These are called GFSI Benchmarked Standards. Many organizations will request that their suppliers achieve a “GFSI Benchmarked” certification scheme. If you have been asked to get a GFSI-recognized standard you have several to choose from.
The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) provides a framework for benchmarking food safety management schemes to ensure that they meet internationally recognized food safety standards. There are certain elements that a food safety management scheme should have in order to meet GFSI requirements. These elements include:
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system
The HACCP system is a food safety management approach that identifies, evaluates, and controls hazards throughout the food production process.
Documented food safety management system
The food safety management system should be documented, including policies, procedures, and records of activities.
Top management should be committed to ensuring the safety and quality of the food produced and should provide the necessary resources to achieve this goal.
There should be effective communication within the organization, as well as with suppliers and customers, to ensure that food safety requirements are understood and met.
Training and awareness
All employees should be trained and aware of their responsibilities in relation to food safety.
Control of food safety hazards
Measures should be in place to control food safety hazards, including physical, chemical, and biological hazards.
Monitoring and verification
The food safety management system should be regularly monitored and verified to ensure its effectiveness.
The food safety management system should be continually reviewed and improved to ensure that it remains effective in controlling food safety hazards.
How to Select a Certification Scheme
With the choices of Food Safety Management Systems Certification, how can your organization choose the right Food Safety Management System standard?
The Global Food Safety Initiative plays an important role in Food Safety Systems Certification. This organization has “benchmarked” existing food safety schemes. Once a system is “benchmarked,” certification to the scheme is accepted by organizations requiring a GFSI scheme. How to select a GFSI Standard
GFSI Costs and Course Length
Costs and time are important factors when making the decision whether to become certified.
Determine Costs and Timing
No matter which scheme you decide to use, the basic steps for getting started, implementation, and preparation for your certification audit are the same.
Training is a critical part of the process. The person in charge of the project needs a good understanding of the scheme requirements and how to implement them as well as of HACCP. Their team and management needs to understand the requirements. Internal Auditors need to be trained on the requirements and on internal auditing. Employees need training on food safety and need to understand their role in food safety.
GFSI Internal Audit Tips
Internal Audits are a required part of the implementation and maintenance of your system. They will help your company with continual improvement.