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Top 20 Factors for Creating Successful GFSI Strategies

August 4, 2014 - Kestrel Food Safety

Since it was launched in May 2000 following a number of major food safety scares, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has aimed to “provide continuous improvement in food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide.”

Recognized Schemes

GFSI is not a scheme in itself, nor does it carry out any accreditation or certification activities. Rather, a benchmarked scheme (e.g., BRC, SQF, IFS, FSSC 22000) is recognized by GFSI when it meets the minimum food safety requirements, as set out in the GFSI Guidance Document.

Strategy for Certification

Companies have the flexibility to choose which GFSI-recognized scheme they want to adopt, and can achieve certification through a successful third-party audit. Under GFSI’s concept of “once certified, accepted everywhere,” certification to any GFSI-recognized scheme is accepted by many international, national, and regional retailers and suppliers.

The following factors should be considered to ensure a successful GFSI strategy:

  1. Adequate knowledge of the GFSI standards (e.g., BRC, SQF, IFS, FSSC 22000) and how they work within food manufacturing and packaging companies
  2. Ability to use and implement document and records management and control
  3. Training to implement the chosen standard and ongoing training in the standard/key program areas, including Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and internal audit
  4. Meeting the building requirements of the GFSI standard
  5. An integrated pest management system that meets the requirements of the standard
  6. Dedicated role of a qualified plant sanitarian
  7. A strategy that includes management commitment and allocation of budgets and resources
  8. Proper management review meetings and records
  9. Compliant food safety and security
  10. A corrective and preventive action (CAPA) process that meets the requirements of the standard
  11. Approved supplier programs
  12. Control of non-conforming product through disposal
  13. Change management and acceptance by the organization
  14. Product specifications that meet the requirements of the standard
  15. Sanitation and chemical control programs
  16. Deviation and variance tracking, reporting, and response
  17. Product and raw material storage
  18. Food-level Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), operating prerequisites, and compliance
  19. Calibration of measurement devices
  20. Emergency response and contingency plans

The GFSI system provides a high degree of confidence that food safety management systems are adequately designed, implemented, and maintained. Certified companies tend to be more efficient and profitable and have more effective shared risk management tools for brand protection. Ultimately, certification results in improved consumer confidence, simpler buying, and safer food throughout the supply chain.

Submitted by: Bill Bremer

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