tled, “What Is ISO 22000?” which paved
the way for further work by a number of
organizations interested in gaining recognition by the GFSI. The document is
freely available on www.mygfsi.com.
In early 2010, the GFSI formally recognized the FSSC 22000 scheme, based
on ISO 22000 and the British Standards
Institute’s PAS 220 specification document, as well as the Synergy 22000
scheme, which is based on ISO 22000
and ISO/TS 22002-1. Both the FSSC
and Synergy schemes also integrate auditing protocols that are not covered by
either ISO or PAS requirements.
Relationship with Codex
By their very nature, the GFSI-recog-
nized standards are written in differing
styles, but all amplify or describe in more detail the requirements laid down in the
Codex Alimentarius Commission’s General Principles of Food Hygiene Code of
Practice. The GFSI-recognized standards are revised and implemented more regularly
than the Codex standards and thus have attempted to address issues that are cur-
rently faced by the food industry; good examples of this are incident management,
food security and allergen management. In addition, within all GFSI-recognized stan-
dards there are requirements above and beyond those in the Codex standards, which
are seen by the food industry as being important to food safety or highly desirable to
ensure continuing compliance with requirements. Good examples of such require-
ments are related to product specifications, product analysis, purchasing procedures,
internal audits and full product/ingredient traceability.
The third challenge will be to convince all the manufacturers that are already
certified only to the ISO 22000 standards (more than 12,000) to extend their
audit by half a day to get their facility certified against FSSC 22000. That will
help them work according to the GFSI Guidance Document, which provides security for both retailers and manufacturers to convince the non-aligned, non-GFSI retailers to stop asking manufacturers to be certified against one specific
food safety scheme, which creates useless duplication of costs and effort and
causes communication dissonance.”
What have you learned in the process of adapting the GFSI to your business that you can share with the Food Safety Magazine audience?
“By working together and benchmarking our requirements, we discovered
that more than 95% of food safety requirements were the same, whatever food
standard in the market you may choose. It was only then that we understood
that running multiple audits was really useless and costly. In other words, there’s
nothing to stop our progress toward one unique standard and going for a single
FSSC 22000 is a good start; it shows that a huge part of the food supply
chain can get behind one standard and help bridge the gap between public and
private sector requirements, thanks to its intrinsic ISO make-up.”
What are some tips you would give to a food processor who wants to begin
applying the GFSI?
“I would say to them that food safety hazards at the point of consumption
may be introduced at any point along the food chain. Consequently, it’s obvious
that food safety is the joint responsibility of everyone involved in the food chain,
and it requires their combined efforts.
One weak link can result in unsafe food that is dangerous to health—and
when this happens, the hazards to consumers can be serious and very costly.
These days, the food industry is still subject to an array of standards, while
the demands for safe food, against a background of increasing international
trade, are making international food safety harmonization essential.
If you seek to get started, pick a GFSI-recognized standard; don’t reinvent
the wheel. Enhancing transparency from farm to fork by sharing the same language and best practices will increase consumer confidence in the food supplied to them for the benefit of all those along the food supply chain. Food
safety is a non-competitive issue.”
What About a Single Scheme?
Trying to create a single, harmonized
scheme was the subject of great debate in
the early years of the GFSI. It was decided
that the preferred option was the benchmarking of existing or new schemes. It was
felt that if there had been a move to develop one global standard, complex issues
such as legislative, political and cultural differences would have been extremely difficult to overcome, and the time frame to
actually develop such a scheme would have
been seen as excessive by those who were
using the existing standards.
Common Acceptance of Standards
Under the umbrella of the GFSI, eight
major retailers came to a common acceptance of four GFSI-benchmarked food
safety schemes in June 2007. Each scheme
has now aligned itself with common criteria defined by food safety experts, with the