Safer Food Standards

August 13th, 2012

Do you understand what the GFSI is and how it may affect your business?

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing.

At the turn of the century the world was bombarded with a slew of recalls and deaths relating to the unsafe treatment of food products being widely shipped and consumed.  Because of this many new processes, organizations and certifications were born to begin to help putting the things in place to protect the public.   One of these new groups, The Consumer Foods Forum, a collection of global CEOs, was established to begin to regain the trust that had been lost by consumers by building safer supply chains.

From this group came the Global Food Safety Initiative, the purpose of which was meant to development standards that would consolidate the many different processes being currently used into a standard which could easily be applied to audits worldwide.

Today’s blog is going to look at this foundation and the audit processes that have been developed and what it means to businesses.

Globally Supported – Founded from a group of global CEOs it is no surprise that there has been a global adoption of this initiative.  8 of 25 top global retailers including Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Kraft, TESCO, Danone, Ahold, Ecolab, Wal-Mart are involved.  This level of adoption means that the standards being set here are strong and likely to be maintained for many years to come.

Defined Role Levels – Part of any strong initiative, organization or process is to have clearly defined roles and responsibilities for everyone involved.  The current flow of roles which includes: Audit Scheme Owners; Accreditation Bodies; Certification Bodies; Manufacturers; Retailers has a detailed description for each groups responsibilities to the process defined along with where each falls in the audit process.  This helps to create an efficient process where each entity knows exactly what is expected of them.  The last two; Manufacturers and Suppliers are described in more detail below.

Manufacturers – For those of you who are food manufacturers there are a number of good things that will come with a global adoption of the GFSI standards.  Having a clearly defined set of certification standards enables a company to ensure that each of their facilities is following the same processes.  This leads to a reduced number of total audits, clarity of food safety requirements, and reducing the overall time and resource investment in food quality and safety levels by having processes to follow all of the time rather than before periodic audits.

Retailers – Retailers and consumers are the biggest benefactors of initiatives like GFSI.  With the manufacturers and distributors being held to standards that will raise the confidence of those involved in the sale and purchase of these items.  Retailers will be able to expect improved production standards from processors, they can expect an increase in the quality of information on food safety schemes and they will be able to help exchange ideas, best practices and knowledge on a safer supply chain practices.

For more information about GFSI or how the initiative will affect your business, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

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