GFSI Certification

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a non-profit making foundation, created under Belgian law in May 2000. The daily management of GFSI is undertaken by The Consumer Goods Forum. GFSI benchmarks existing food standards against food safety criteria, and also looks to develop mechanisms to exchange information in the supply chain, to raise consumer awareness and to review existing good retail practices.

What does GFSI do?

Primarily Benchmarking – Within GFSI, benchmarking is a “procedure by which a food safety-related scheme is compared to the GFSI Guidance Document,” a copy of which can be found on  The process is intended to be executed in an independent, unbiased, technically proficient and transparent manner. The GFSI Board Benchmarking a scheme successfully means that all recognized schemes have a common foundation of requirements which should provide consistent results, in regard to the common requirements applied during the audit, but the benchmarked schemes cannot be considered as equal.

GFSI Guidance Document Version 6 (click to view)

Reductions in Food Safety Audits Through GFSI Acceptance

Under the umbrella of GFSI, eight major retailers came to a common acceptance of the GFSI benchmarked food safety schemes in June 2007. Each scheme has now aligned itself with common criteria defined by food safety experts from the food business, with the objective of making food production and manufacture as safe as possible. As a result, this will also drive cost efficiency in the supply chain and reduce the duplication of food safety audits. The GFSI vision of ‘once certified, accepted everywhere’ became a reality. In addition to the original retailers Carrefour, Tesco, ICA, Metro, Migros, Ahold, Wal-Mart and Delhaize who agreed to reduce duplication in the supply chain through the common acceptance of any of the four GFSI benchmarked schemes, many other food service, retail and manufacturing companies have now joined this approach.

While GFSI encourages businesses within the retail, food service and manufacturing sectors to choose GFSI recognized schemes, these businesses can make individual choices whether or not to implement the program. Whilst choosing a GFSI recognized scheme may be a large investment for a business initially, the number of food safety audits is expected to be reduced significantly after implementation. Additionally, an outside customer may require specific audits, but under the GFSI framework only one scheme would be required. With heightened awareness about food safety issues due to major recalls, consumers are increasingly demanding safer food supply chain assurances

As a result, many food manufacturers, feed and primary producers, transportation and storage companies, retailers, food service providers, as well as those involved in food packaging, cleaning equipment and providing cleaning agents, additives and ingredients within the food supply chain, need to consider implementing globally recognized GFSI, food safety, and quality assurance schemes to ensure brand protection, and strengthen consumer confidence. There are many food safety standards but to learn more about the GFSI certification schemes visit the GFSI the website

Click here for an infographic with some GFSI statistics.

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