GFSI launches business guide for food safety management

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The Global Food Safety Initiative has released a step-by-step programme to guide businesses through a continuous improvement process in their food safety management systems.The Global Markets Capacity Building Programme is designed to facilitate local market access and create mutual acceptance along the supply chain.

The project began in 2008 after the annual GFSI stakeholder meeting identified the need for technical assistance and support for small and/or less developed businesses in the development of their food safety management systems. 

The GFSI Global Markets Technical Working Group has worked over the past three years to draft basic and intermediate level key requirements drawn from the GFSI Guidance Document and based on the Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene, as well as a protocol to guide companies through the programme. The working group comprises food safety experts from international organisations and retail, producer, manufacturing, foodservice and service provider companies.

Numerous pilot programmes to test market readiness of the basic and intermediate level requirements have been successfully carried out all over the world, including Ukraine, Egypt, USA, Chile, Mexico, and China, said report authors.

Jan Kranghand, former chairman of the Technical Working Group and head of quality assurance at METRO Jinjiang Cash & Carry, China, said: “Our goal is to ensure through the adoption of this programme, businesses can progress over time in a harmonised, systematic way towards obtaining certification against one of the GFSI recognised scheme.

“The extensive interest in this programme from international organisations supports the need for this tiered approach to building capacity in food safety management systems within global supply chains, providing support for small and/or less developed businesses from developing and even OECD countries.”

Ali Badarneh, industrial development officer at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and member of the Technical Working Group, said: “UNIDO has chosen to play a key role in this programme as it supports our mandate, and that of many other development organisations, of ensuring less developed businesses in developing countries can apply and comply with standards and regulations without becoming an unnecessary burden or a barrier to trade.”

The GFSI Global Markets Primary Production Technical Working Sub-Group chaired by Marc Cwikowski, senior manager food safety, global quality and product integrity with The Coca-Cola Company and new chairman of the Global Markets Technical Working Group, is currently drafting basic and intermediate level requirements for primary production (scope of crops, fruit and vegetables). Both the basic and intermediate levels are currently being trialled in projects around the world and the programme will be released by the end of the year.  

To download the Global Markets Capacity Building Programme and find more information, please visit www.mygfsi.com.