The GFSI, or Global Food Safety Initiative, is an organization established in 2000 to identify standards of food safety under certain requirements. A GFSI certification means that a member of the food supply chain has met a set of requirements that indicate their products are produced in a manner safe for delivery and consumption. An example of a company that can evaluate supply chains for a GFSI certification is QIMA. They perform inspections, also known as ‘audits’, for a large selection of industries and companies.
Some GFSI certifications include:
These certifications cover areas in food quality, packaging, and transportation. Achieving a GFSI certification means one or all of these areas are being maintained and producing food products that are safe to consume. According to an article on SafeFoodAlliance.com, audits for a GFSI certification generally look at three things:
1. Appropriate procedures & company policies
2. Smooth functionality of the company, facility cleanliness, & employee interviews
3. Looking over company records for any inconsistencies
If a company meets all of these standards, they will be awarded a GFSI certification. Being GFSI certified is also a selling-point for companies because it indicates that higher standards are being held to produce better quality products versus a company with no certification. Following the inspection of an accredited individual or company like QIMA, members of the food supply chain who receive a GFSI certification are likely to establish relationships with other certified members.
Why should supply chains, businesses, and consumers care about being GFSI certified?
Every food supply chain should strive to produce products that are manufactured in clean environments, safe for consumption, and delivered to the appropriate destinations. GFSI certifications are proof to businesses receiving products from certified members of the food supply chain that it has passed an extensive audit.
Businesses will trust supply chains with GFSI certifications, thus creating a reliable venture for both sides. Not only can the chains claim to be certified, but businesses selling the chain’s products can make that same promise to their consumers. The certifications of a supply chain have the potential to turn around a larger profit for businesses as well.
Consumers feel safe when they know what they eat comes from an approved manufacturer. Seeing that seal of certification on a product means they are more likely to purchase from the business again. Knowing incidents of salmonella poisoning or some other dangerous effect of eating uninspected food occurs, the uncertainty turns consumers away from those products. Obtaining a GFSI certification is likely to attract those people from rival businesses and supply chain members.
How often should a supply chain be inspected for certification?
SafeFoodAlliance.com suggests scheduling an audit every year to ensure that food supply chains are keeping up with changing standards, producing food safe for consumption on a consistent basis, and can demonstrate that by receiving GFSI certifications annually. This will also help chains, businesses, and consumers maintain a solid relationship with one another. Relationships built like this are likely to last a long time.