The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) approves various food safety schemes which allow certified food companies to market their products and services anywhere worldwide. GFSI has welcomed order and harmony to food safety standards, reducing duplicate auditing in supply chains and providing worldwide proof of adherence to acceptable standards while leaving flexibility and choice to companies in the food industry.
Some of the major food safety standards that have been successfully benchmarked by GFSI are British Retail Consortium (BRC), Safe Quality Food (SQF), International Food Standard (IFS), FSC 22000, PrimusGFS, GlobalGAP, and CanadaGAP.
Each has its place in the food industry. Some are a better fit for crop farms while others apply to food processors, packers and distributors. This flexibility has accelerated the fast adoption of GFSI-approved standards within food industries.
Thousand of companies in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and in Asia have received a GFSI-approved certification that is accepted anywhere in the world. These include such recognizable names as:
Wegmans Food Markets
Schwan Food Company
These companies typically demand that suppliers in their food chain demonstrate an achievement of an acceptable GFSI-approved standard or at least a verified HACCP Plan (which is the basis of most GFSI standards). The giant retailer Wal-Mart, for example, requires their suppliers to achieve a GFSI-approved certification or risk losing their business.
The momentum to gain a GFSI-approved certification has increased with the 2011 passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in the US and similar measures approved worldwide. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is slowly implementing FSMA rules for domestic companies, it is cognizant of GFSI-approved schemes and looks to be charting a parallel path, one that will make it easy for those in the food industry to comply with FDA regulations if they already hold a GFSI-approved certification.
Independent consultants are available to assist food growers, manufacturers, processors, packagers, food service operators, distributors, transporters and retailers prepare for certification under a GFSI-approved standard of their choice. Working with a knowledgeable consultant is the quick path to achieving recognized food safety certification, an investment that pays for itself many fold over time.
The hand writing is on the wall. Companies in the food industry today that do not have an acceptable food safety certification are on the road to extinction. World governments are cracking down on outfits that provide tailed goods, misbranded products or can not demonstrate fast, effective recall systems. Ccertification is fast becoming a prerequisite for participation in profitable supply chains and then business survival. The safest and most lucrative route for those in the food industry is to focus on achieving certification under a standard successfully benchmarked by the Global Food Safety Initiative.