What is GFSI and How do I Get Started?

What is GFSI and How do I Get Started?

December 23, 2021 By

In 2000, a group of professionals from the food industry gathered with the goal of collaborating and finding solutions for the food industry challenges, most notably to reduce food safety risks while fostering confidence throughout the supply chain. As a result, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) was created. Today, the GFSI continues to cooperatively advance food safety management systems all around the world.

What are the different GFSI schemes?

The GFSI recognizes the following food safety schemes:

  • Primus GFS
  • Global Aquaculture Alliance Seafood
  • Global GAP
  • FSSC 22000
  • Global Red Meat Standard
  • CanadaGAP
  • SQF
  • BRCGS Global Standard
  • IFS International Featured Standards
  • Japan Food Safety Management Association

What scheme should I choose?

Your company’s involvement in the food production chain (grower, manufacturer, storage), the size of your company, your needs, your location, among others, will impact the decision on which standard to choose. At dicentra, our team of experts will help you decide which standard suits your company’s needs best.

How is a GFSI certification is obtained?

A certification body (like dicentra) audits your company against the selected food safety scheme from the list mentioned above. If your company gets the required score, the certification body will issue a certificate that will allow you to prove to your customers that your company is taking the necessary steps to ensure the supply of safe food.

How do I get started?

After the selection of the most suitable food safety scheme for your company, there are preparation steps that need to be in place prior to the initial certification audit. You will need to have a sound HACCP plan in place, along with programs that support compliance with the GFSI scheme directives. All schemes require consistent senior management commitment to food safety. When the dicentra auditor comes to your facility to check your compliance with the scheme, they will review your policies and procedures, records, and will verify that what you say on paper is being reflected in all the areas related to your food production.

Certification on SQF & BRCGS Schemes

Two of the most audited GFSI schemes for food production are SQF and BRCGS. Again, depending on your needs, one will be more suitable for your company. In general, the following will be the steps to take whenever you decide to obtain an SQF or BRCGS certificate:

Step 1: Learn about the requirements of the SQF or BRCGS Codes. These codes are being reviewed and updated every couple of years, your company needs to make sure to review the latest version (as of today, for SQF, Edition 9; for BRCGS, Issue 8)
Step 2: Define the scope of the audit and select the type of certification
Step 3: Prepare for the audit
Step 4: Contact your certification body
Step 5: Conduct a Pre-Assessment (Optional)
Step 6: Schedule an Audit
Step 7: Prepare for the audit: Make sure everything is ready
Step 8: The Certification Body conducts the certification audit on behalf of the scheme

At dicentra, we have successfully helped develop and implement multiple food safety programs across multiple food industries in North America to comply with the different GFSI schemes. Contact us today to assist you to successfully certificate your facility in the GFSI standard your company needs.