Welcome to the Wonderful World of GFSI Benchmarked Standards
Hello and welcome to this week’s Food Bites.
You better get comfortable; this is a long one but especially important…
Last week we tried to shed some light on choosing the food safety management system standard that is exactly right for you. Another topic that slots in with this decision is the concept of a GFSI-recognised standard.
The Global Food Safety Initiative was launched in 2000 and one of its core functions is to bring a level of harmonisation between the different food safety standards. Their aim is to improve food safety and business efficiency and their work in benchmarking and harmonisation fosters mutual acceptance of GFSI-recognised certification programmes across the industry.
The idea behind a benchmarked scheme is a simplified “once certified, recognised everywhere” approach. This reduces inefficiencies from duplication of audits and helps reduce trade barriers. The GFSI Benchmarking process is now the most-widely recognised in the food industry worldwide.
There are three standards that seem to be very popular and most relevant in the South African food industry at the moment:
- FSSC 22000 – Food Safety System Certification
Currently on version 5, FSSC 22000 is by far the fastest growing food safety standard in the world. It is important to know that ISO 22000 on its own is not GFSI-recognised, but together with the relevant technical standard (example ISO/TS 22002-1) as well as the additional FSSC requirements, you can be FSSC 22000 certified. It is not necessary to implement ISO 22000 first and then convert to FSSC 22000. FSSC also recently introduced their development programme for sites who are not currently certified and would gradually like to “build” up to formal certification to the FSSC standard.
- BRCGS – Food Standard (as well as Primary Food Packaging)
Issue 9 of the BRCGS Food Standard was published in 2018 and still boasts the most certifications globally. BRCGS prides itself in having “the most rigorous schemes and the highest trained auditors”. The scheme works on a grading system determined by the number and nature of non-conformances. BRCGS also has an aptly named programme to assist developing or smaller organisations become BRCGS certified – BRCGS START!
- IFS – International Featured Standards
Hot off the press is IFS version 7. Although there are much less certified sites, this is the standard of choice for many German, Spanish, French, Italian, Austrian and Polish retailers. Progress Excellence offers a 3-day IFS Food Implementation workshop. Click here to find out more and visit the IFS website at https://www.ifs-certification.com.
Apologies for the information overload but sometimes we also struggle to simplify complicated things without any success at all because they’re just so darn complicated! You know that we are a click away so pop us an e-mail if you have any questions.
Over and out!