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Many companies are moving to a food safety standard that is benchmarked under the Global Food Safety Initiative. The purpose is to provide “Safe Food for Consumers Everywhere”. This is the vision of the Global Food Safety Initiative.
The Global Food Safety Initiative or GFSI began in 2000 and is a division of the consumer goods forum. The GFSI is a collaboration of stakeholders throughout the supply chain, with the focus to establish audit scheme guidance to align standards, allowing for global harmonization of food safety standards and provide the framework for emerging suppliers to gain international acceptance. The mission for the Global Food Safety Initiative is to “Provide continuous improvement in food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide.” GFSI establishes audit scheme guidance to ensure the safety of food reaching all consumers, develop efficiencies within the supply change and promote transparency within the supply chain, as well as a harmonization approach to food safety management systems. Another benefit to a GFSI benchmarked audit is the cost savings. Since there is global acceptance, one of the GFSI audits may eliminate the need for multiple second or third party audits, as GFSI audits are recognized everywhere.
ASI Food Safety can answer your questions about GFSI and the importance of the GFSI audit schemes. ASI Food Safety is a licensed Certification Body to conduct SQF and are available to you 24 hours a day 7 days a week. ASI has a knowledgeable food safety compliance staff and can define the steps to SQF Certification. There are several GFSI audit standards that are benchmarked, to include SQF, BRC for Food, BRC for Packaging, IFS, FSSC 22000 to name a few. For a complete list of benchmarked GFSI standards, you can visit www.mygfsi.com. This website provides the most current GFSI standards, as well as standards that are in the process of becoming benchmarked.
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SQF Code Edition 8.0 or commonly known as the SQF audit scheme, has been benchmarked by the Global Food Safety Initiative. The Global Food Safety Initiative sets requirements for food safety schemes through a benchmarking process in order to improve cost efficiency throughout the food supply.
There are several audit schemes within the Global Food Safety Initiative besides an SQF audit. Currently, ASI is licensed to conduct the Safe Quality Food, Pre-assessments and SQF Certification Audits. SQF audits are based on HACCP and require management commitment to food safety. Like the other standards that are part of GFSI, corrective action follow-up to every non-conformance is required.
Transitioning from a GMP level through the SQF Certification Process will typically take 3 to 6 months. This timeline will allow your facility to accumulate the documentation necessary to gain SQF Certification.
SQF Certification Pre-Assessments
An SQF auditor can conduct a pre-assessment to identify the deficiencies between your programs and the desired level of SQF certification. Only your organization can determine if a pre-assessment is beneficial during the SQF Certification process. The pre-assessment is not a formal part of the SQF Certification process.
Pre-Assessments for an SQF audit are optional and will be included on the quote. Each facility going through the SQF Certification process has the option of having an SQF pre-assessment.
With a Pre-Assessment, the SQF audit is conducted, but no grade is given and the results are not reported to SQFI or anyone other than your facility.
Even though the SQF pre-assessment is not part of the SQF Certification process, many companies choose this option prior to gaining SQF Certification the initial time; when changing from SQF Audit level 2 to SQF Audit level 3; or when changing the scope of the SQF Certification.
The same auditor that conducts the Pre-Assessment will conduct the facility audit.
Questions about SQF Certification?
ASI Food Safety can educate your organization to take the necessary steps to obtain certification under the SQF Code audit scheme; any one of our marketing staff can answer your questions.
SQF is recognized by retailers and food service providers around the world who require a rigorous, credible food safety management system. Gaining SQF Certification will allow your organization to be recognized as producing the safest product under rigorous SQF Audit standards.
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