• providing a unique international stakeholder platform for networking, knowledge
exchange and sharing of best food safety practices and information.
Within the GFSI, benchmarking provides a mechanism for the convergence and
recognition of food safety requirements within food safety schemes and their supporting standards, and is a procedure by which a food safety-related scheme is compared
to the GFSI Guidance Document. The process is carried out in an independent, unbiased, technically proficient and transparent manner.
Benchmarking a scheme successfully means that all recognized schemes have a
common foundation of requirements that should provide consistent results, in regard
to the common requirements applied during an audit. However, the benchmarked
schemes cannot be considered fully equivalent, as schemes differ in relation to their
level of prescription and specific needs.
Origins of GFSI-recognized Schemes
All the schemes recognized by the GFSI have been derived, over many years, from
standards developed by individual organizations, such as retailers, industry sectors or
certification organizations. The GFSI-recognized schemes originated from standards
dating back to the early 1980s, with the
major influence being the requirements
specified by retailers for their own brand
Although the International Organiza-
tion for Standardization (ISO) 22000
standard is also meant to be globally ap-
plicable, the GFSI does not formally rec-
ognize ISO 22000 on its own. The GFSI
does not intend to be restrictive in its ac-
tivities, but by the very nature of the
benchmarking process, any submitted
standard must meet the requirements de-
fined in the GFSI Guidance Document.
Differences exist in three main areas:
• The lack of defined prerequisite pro-
grams in ISO 22000
• The accreditation requirement for
ISO 22000 differs from that specified
in the GFSI Guidance Document
• Ownership and accountability issues
In September 2007, the GFSI Technical Committee published a document ti-
Practical Applications of GFSI
The Benchmarking Process
The GFSI Guidance Document is currently being revised, and during this revision the benchmarking process currently
outlined in version 5 will undergo some
major changes. An entire section of the
new modular Guidance Document will be
dedicated to benchmarking.
Standards Benchmarked against the GFSI
Guidance Document, 5th Edition:
• British Retail Consortium (BRC)
Global Standard, version 5
• Dutch Hazard Analysis and Critical
Control Points (HACCP) Option B
• Foundation for Food Safety Certifica-
tion (FSSC) 22000
• Global Red Meat Standard
• International Food Standard (IFS),
• Safe Quality Food (SQF) 2000, level 2
• Synergy 22000
Primary production schemes:
• GlobalGAP (Aquaculture and Livestock
GlobalGAP IFA V.03 (Fruit and Vegetable,
Livestock and Aquaculture scopes)
• SQF 1000, level 2
Primary production and manufacturing
Yves Rey, Corporate Quality General Manager, Danone Group, France, responds
to questions about how Danone has applied GFSI.
Has your company implemented the GFSI?
“I strongly support the vision and mission the GFSI stands for, and as
Danone Corporate Quality General Manager, I contribute to the implementation
of the GFSI’s main statement: ‘Once certified, accepted everywhere.’ Concerning Danone’s suppliers, we have saved about one million Euros per year, because we don’t have to go and audit our suppliers as they are already certified
against one of the GFSI-recognized standards. Nevertheless, according to a science-based risk assessment, provided it’s necessary due to the uniqueness of
Danone’s products, all we have to ask for is our specific requirements.
Regarding our production facilities, due to our ISO 22000 background, all of
them are now certified against one of the GFSI-recognized food safety
schemes, FSSC 22000, made up of ISO documents. Now, thanks to the GFSI’s
recognition of FSSC 22000, we don’t have to carry out two certification audits,
one against our own certification scheme and the other one at the request of the
retailers. This policy is being implemented as well by all the big international
manufacturers (e.g., Nestlé, Kraft, Unilever and Coca-Cola).”
What have been some challenges? Some successes?
“The first challenge that has been taken up by the GFSI was its evolution
from a 100% retailer-driven organization to a truly international multi-stakeholder
one. I was the first manufacturer that was brought in, in 2006. I successfully
broke new ground in food chain partnerships. Today, the GFSI has succeeded in
creating the right mix of supply chain actors, such as retailers, manufacturers
and foodservice companies, as well as those from various geographic areas,
such as the EU, the U.S. and Asia.
The second big challenge was to merge two different food safety backgrounds to create this common food safety understanding. The manufacturers
were very keen on ISO standards, while the GFSI had, at that time, only recognized as equivalent retailer-driven standards, such as BRC and IFS. Now, thanks
to FSSC 22000, which is made up of ISO standards, norms and technical specifications, and recognized by the technical committee as equivalent to the GFSI-recognized standards, we have created this common food safety platform.