Global food safety initiative joint unctad wto informal information session on private standards
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Global Food Safety Initiative Joint UNCTAD/WTO Informal Information Session on Private Standards. Background. GFSI launched at the CIES Annual Congress (May 2000) Established as a non-profit making Foundation (June 2005) Managed by CIES – The Food Business Forum

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Global Food Safety Initiative Joint UNCTAD/WTO Informal Information Session on Private Standards

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Global Food Safety InitiativeJoint UNCTAD/WTO Informal Information Session on Private Standards


  • GFSI launched at the CIES Annual Congress

    (May 2000)

  • Established as a non-profit making Foundation (June 2005)

  • Managed by CIES – The Food Business Forum

  • Food Safety is top of mind with consumers and CEOs

  • Consumer trust needs to be strengthened and maintained

GFSI Mission

“Continuous improvement in food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers”

GFSI Objectives

  • - Convergence between food safety management systems through maintaining a benchmarking process for food safety management systems

  • Improve cost efficiency throughout the food supply chain through the common acceptance of GFSI recognised systems by retailers around the world

  • - Provide a unique international stakeholder platform for networking, knowledge exchange and sharing of best food safety practice and information

What Does GFSI Do ?

  • benchmarks existing retailer driven food safety management systems against the GFSI Guidance Document

  • communicates to stakeholders about system equivalence

  • provides a forum for debate with international Standards organisations and interested parties

  • helps and encourages retailers and other stakeholders to share knowledge and strategy for food safety through different projects

What is the GFSI Guidance Document ?

  • the Guidance Document 5th Edition represents food safety management best practice in the form of key elements for food production :

    • Requirements for Food Safety Management Systems

    • Requirements for HACCP and Good Practice (GAP, GMP or GDP)

    • Requirements for the delivery of food safety management systems

  • provides guidance on how to seek compliance for existing systems owners

  • provides a framework for benchmarking

  • provides guidance on the operation of certification processes

  • it is NOT a new standard !

GFSI Benchmarking

  • systems officially benchmarked and recognised by GFSI are :

    • BRC Technical Standard Version 4

    • IFS Version 4

    • SQF

    • Dutch HACCP (scheme Option B)

    • NZ GAP

What GFSI Does NOT Do

  • make policy for retailers

  • make policy for system owners

  • undertake any accreditation or certification activities

The GFSI Road To Harmonisation


Safe Food

Cost Effectiveness

  • What has been achieved

  • Quality

  • Quantity

  • Confidence

  • Retailers / Authorities

Guidance Document


Guidance Document




Manufacturers / Retailers

The Effects of GFSI Benchmarking

  • a number of major retailers are now formally recognising all GFSI recognised systems

  • more and more suppliers are now using GFSI recognised systems, using third party certification, making buying simpler and improving the level of food safety

  • reduction in the number of audits carried out by retailers

  • nearly 19000 GFSI-recognised system certificates issued in 2006 - compared to 9000 in 2005

  • continual improvement of food management systems

  • there is a direct influence on audit consistency, customer confidence and cost

GFSI Benefits


Improved production standards

Improved information on food safety schemes

Exchange of best practice

Simplified purchasing procedures


Exchange of best practice

Greater transparency in the food industry

Continuous improvement

Market opportunities


Improved cost efficiency

Reduced numbers of audits

Clarity of Food Safety Scheme requirements

Time and resources to reinvest in quality and safety


Exchange of best practice

Knowledge sharing

Opportunities to work with the food industry on auditing standards


Exchange of best practice

Improved auditor competence & quality

New market opportunities

Key Factors Driving The Development Private Food Safety Management Systems

  • to provide assurance of product safety

  • to promote consumer confidence

  • to promote ‘best practice’

  • to promote business improvement and efficiency in the supply chain in a global context

  • to meet legislative requirements and to ensure a margin of defence

  • to provide brand protection and reputation

European Retailer Own Brand Market ShareSource: AC Nielsen and Citigroup Investment Research 2005

Global Retailer Own Brand Market ShareSource: The Nielsen Company 2005

Meeting Legislative Requirements


Operators shall not place on the market unsafe food or feed


Operators are responsible for the safety of the food and feed which they produce, transport, store or sell


Operators shall be able to rapidly identify any supplier or consignee


Operators shall immediately inform the competent authorities if they have reason to believe that their food or feed is unsafe

Key Obligations of Food and Feed Business Operators Issued by The Health & Consumer Protection Directorate- General of the European Commission

Meeting Legislative Requirements


Operators shall immediately withdraw food or feed from the market if they have a reason to believe that it is not safe


Operators shall identify and regularly review the critical points in their processes and ensure that controls are applied at these points


Operators shall co-operate with the competent authorities in actions taken to reduce risks

Key Obligations of Food and Feed Business Operators Issued by The Health & Consumer Protection Directorate- General of the European Commission

Meeting Legislative Requirements

  • Responsibility of the Food Business Operator under the EU General Food Law Regulation 178/2002 Article 17

    Food and feed business operators at all stages of production, processing and distribution within the businesses under their control shall ensure that foods or feeds satisfy the requirements of food law which are relevant to their activities and shall verify that such requirements are met.

Meeting Legislative Requirements

Regulation EC 852/2004 The Hygiene of Foodstuffs Article 1

Lays down the general rules for food business operators on the hygiene of foodstuffs, taking particular account of the following principles:

  • primary responsibility for food safety rests with the food business operator

  • it is necessary to ensure food safety throughout the food chain, starting with primary production

  • general implementation of procedures based on the HACCP principles, together with the application of good hygiene practice, should reinforce food business operators’ responsibility

  • it is necessary to ensure that imported foods are of at least the same hygiene standard as food produced in the Community, or are of an equivalent standard.

Meeting Legislative Requirements

Imports - Responsibility of the Food Business Operator under the General Food Law Regulation 178/2002 Article 11:

“Food and feed imported to the Community for placing on the market within the Community shall comply with the relevant requirements of food law…”

Principles of Private Food Safety Management Systems

  • established to minimise duplication of evaluation

  • encourage ‘local’ evaluation

  • promote ‘best practice’

  • be open, transparent and compliant with fair trading legislation

  • control and maintenance is reliant on an internationally recognised accreditation process

  • direct stakeholder participation during development, continuous review and improvement of systems

Private Food Safety Management Systems

  • provide a benchmark requirement for all suppliers ensuring a ‘level playing field’ globally

  • compliant with legislative requirements

  • provide compliant suppliers with access to new markets and customers

  • used to promote and enhance food safety using the principles of self regulation

  • suppliers recognise the advantages to their operation of gaining certification

  • a strong move towards harmonisation, reducing multiple and divergent standards and audits from individual retailers

  • the certification process proactively improves food safety and knowledge of legislative requirements

The Relationship Between Private Food Safety Management Systems and Regulation

  • do not conflict with,but complement regulatory requirements

  • provides demonstrable assurance of compliance

  • translate regulatory requirements into concrete means/measures

  • enhance the understanding of legislative requirements for markets where the product is sold

  • promote uniform interpretation of legal requirements and any specific requirements of the System

  • are regularly updated to reflect legislative change, define best practice, such as technology and knowledge advance and to meet consumer expectation

  • are well established and understood by suppliers

  • driven by consumer demand

  • governance of Systems and associated protocols are in line with Corporate Governance principles

  • established case law dictates that a food business operator cannot rely on competent authority control measures or official control measures to satisfy their legal obligations

Opening Markets

‘The picture for developing countries as a whole is not necessarily problematic and certainly less pessimistic than the mainstream “standards-as-barriers” perspective. Indeed, rising standards serve to accentuate underlying supply chain strengths and weaknesses and thus impact differently on the competitive position of individual countries and distinct market participants. Some countries and industries are even

using high quality and safety standards to successfully (re-)position themselves in competitive global markets.’

Jaffe & Henson

Standards and Agro-Food Exports from Developing Countries: Rebalancing the Debate (June 2004)

Future Debate

"The fact that more and more producers and retailers are using certification schemes must prove something. And I'm glad we're beginning to see the results of detailed work which reveals where, when and how the schemes add value and how much benefit farmers, retailers and consumers get....... Schemes should aim to enable producers and retailers to obtain higher returns for qualities which consumers genuinely want."

Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel

(5-6 Feb 2007- Food Quality Certification Conference in Brussels - Adding Value to Farm Produce)

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