New food safety guidance encompasses packaging requirements

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The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has reissued the GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition* to incorporate key elements, which will be in place for the recognition of food safety requirements for both the production of food packaging and animal conversion. 

The GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition Version 6.1 will enable food safety management schemes that cover these two scopes to come forward for benchmarking and formal recognition from GFSI.

With the release of the GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition in January 2011, a major change from the Fifth Edition was the inclusion of Part III, scheme scope and key elements, which outlines the key elements for the production of safe food along the supply chain. At the time of publication, several new scopes were identified in order to provide a seamless and harmonised approach for food safety management from feed to fork. 

The GFSI Board of Directors prioritised the new scopes of the supply chain in their mandate to the GFSI technical working groups, beginning with packaging production and animal conversion.

Two technical working groups convened in February 2011 have made rapid progress over the past six months to define and develop the key elements for the scopes of recognition in relation to production of food packaging (GFSI Guidance Document scope M) and animal conversion (GFSI Guidance Document scope C), as well as to review requirements related to auditor competency. A four-week global stakeholder consultation was launched in June 2011, providing the working groups with additional feedback before issuing their final documents.

Food safety schemes can now apply for recognition against these scopes as well as the other existing scopes defined in the GFSI Guidance Document, and if the scheme’s requirements are considered to be equivalent to those laid out in the GFSI Guidance Document, the scheme shall achieve formal recognition by GFSI.

Terry Robins, managing director of TR Pack Solutions and chairman of the GFSI packaging technical working group, said: “As food packaging is an integral part of the food industry, food packaging needs to be of the right quality, cleanliness and legality in our global markets. Now packaging schemes can come forward to GFSI for benchmarking against the requirements set out in the GFSI Guidance Document, GFSI moves that step closer to being able to provide a total supply chain approach to managing food safety.”

Jürgen Matern, chairman of the GFSI board of directors and VP regulatory affairs & external relations QSHE, Metro, said: “Feedback from the GFSI stakeholder meeting in February of this year revealed ensuring a harmonised total supply chain approach to food safety should be GFSI’s priority over the years to come. The tremendous achievement of these two working groups in a very short time frame will allow GFSI to move closer to its goal of reducing food safety risks by delivering equivalence and convergence between effective food safety management systems.”

*GFSI Guidance Document Version 6.1 as well as a tracked changes version in Word are available on www.mygfsi.com by clicking on the Guidance Document icon on the homepage.