GFSI stands for the Global Food Safety Initiative, which is a project launched by the business forum CIES in 2000, to harmonies international food safety standards and reduce the need for multiple supplier audits. The CIES members include the world's leading retailer organizations and food manufacturers.
Rather than create another Standard, the GFSI Technical Committee identified the key components necessary for good food safety standards and the operating protocols for the delivery of certification, whilst creating a benchmarking document.
Standard owners such as the BRC were invited to submit their Standards for benchmarking. It is important to recognise that the bench marking process was not designed to create a single super Standard, but to allow innovation and competitive development between Standard owners whilst meeting a core set of requirements. The BRC’s ability to react to changing food safety concerns, meet customer requirements, yet provide a simple, easy to follow process for manufacturers has led to the Standard becoming the most used GFSI equivalent Standard with over 15,000 certificated sites worldwide.
The BRC Global Standards for Food Safety was the first Standard to be recognized as meeting the benchmark back in 2000 and each issue has continued to be benchmarked since.
Benchmarking of the BRC Global Standard for food safety issue 6
The GFSI have stated that the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety continues to be a GFSI recognized program, whilst the benchmarking against the GFSI Guidance Document 6 is undertaken on the GFSI website.
As with every other issue of the BRC Standard, it has been submitted for benchmarking against the relevant GFSI Guidance Document, which co-incidentally is also Issue 6. Changes made to Issue 6 largely built upon the existing Issue 5 Standard by adding clarity and in places greater detail to ensure consistent application. The changes were made with careful consideration of GFSI requirements and with the benefit of having the new Guidance Document available for the rewrite process. The Standard is going through the benchmarking process against the new GFSI Guidance Document Issue 6 and has the same status as all of the other GFSI recognised schemes - none of which have been benchmarked against the new Guidance Document.
WHAT DOES IT COVER
The Standard is designed to provide certification for food manufacturers who implement good manufacturing practices and have the supporting quality management systems to produce safe, legal product meeting their customer’s quality requirements.
The Standard can be applied to any food processing or packing operation where open food is handled, processed or packed. This may range from primary products such as fresh produce pack houses and slaughter houses through to processed foods, canneries and high risk ready to eat products. In some sectors such as fresh produce, guideline documents are available to assist with interpretation.
The standard is divided into 7 chapters :
Senior Management Commitment and Continual Improvement – For any food safety system to be effective it is essential that the factory senior management are fully committed to its application and continued development.
The Food Safety Plan (HACCP) – The basis for the Food Safety System is an effective HACCP programme based on the requirements of the internationally recognised Codex Alimentarius system.
Food Safety and Quality Management System - This sets out requirements for the management of food safety and quality, building upon the principles of ISO 9000. This includes requirements for product specifications, supplier approval, traceability, and the management of incidents and product recalls.
Site Standards – These define expectations for the processing environment including the layout and maintenance of the buildings and equipment, cleaning, pest control and waste management. This includes a specific section on managing foreign body controls.
Product Control – This includes requirements at the product design and development stage, Allergen management and the expectations of Laboratories and product testing.
Process Control – This covers the establishment and maintenance of safe process controls, weight/volume control and equipment calibration.
Personnel – This defines requirements for the training of staff and expectations on protective clothing and personnel hygiene.
It is the latest standard.
Any food chain organization including food grower, processors & manufacturer.
DRIVERS FOR CERTIFICATION
Promote best practices
Improve supplier standards and consistency, and avoid product failure.
Eliminate multiple audits of food manufacturers.
Support retailer objectives at all levels of the manufacturing supply chain.
Provide concise information to assist with due diligence defence.
Existing implementation a Quality Management System such as ISO may mean that many of the requirements of the Standard are already met.
Cost savings can be made through improved efficiency and productivity.
Improvements can be developed, resulting in less waste, inappropriate or rejected work and fewer complaints.
Certification to the standard provides credibility.
Assists Companies choose approved suppliers with confidence.
Provides assurance that suppliers are following good manufacturing practice and are meeting their legal requirements.
Provision of a single recognized third party audit report saves time money and inconvenience.
Provides marketing opportunities through the BRC Global Standards Directory website and use of the BRC logo.