BY: Stacey Pisani
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The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) relies on a number of benchmarked schemes to establish food safety requirements; all are designed to ensure the quality and safety of a company’s products. In order to become certified to one of these GFSI-recognized schemes, a company must undergo a third-party audit by a certified auditor. Kestrel’s experience conducting these audits has revealed that companies who successfully achieve certification demonstrate a number of common attributes—regardless of their chosen scheme:
- Corrective and preventive actions are up-to-date and current.
- Continuous improvement/root cause analysis process is in place to make ongoing improvements and to ensure final resolutions to all out-of-control issues or non-conformances to the Food Safety Program.
- Premises, facility, and building programs are established and operating, including controls, signage, direction, job training, and physical evidence of a fully implemented Food Safety Program.
- Preventive maintenance system links scheduled maintenance to Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) critical equipment monitoring requirements.
- Approved materials and process specifications are managed and controlled.
- Product identification and traceability processes are in place, including complete records detailing all activities for the production of food product.
- Document management and control program is updated, validated, and maintained. Developing program management systems helps ensure compliance with document management and control.
- Food safety program updates and management are completed through annual and multi-year planning for maintaining the Food Safety Program, including management of change, management review, approvals, and internal audit.
- Records and verification management systems provide access to supporting data, as determined by FDA/FSMA and company programs.
- Data management of food safety records outlines processes for assuring prompt or immediate access to critical records, as needed, for audit, compliance, or regulatory purposes.