The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has announced the launch of a live pilot of its Benchmarking Requirements for Food Safety Auditors’ Professional Recognition Bodies, following a successful comment period.

According to GFSI, although food safety auditors are a vital part of ensuring safe food is available for people around the world, the industry is facing mounting recruitment difficulties, with more auditors leaving the profession than new recruits joining it. GFSI views this as putting a strain on the certification bodies’ ability to cater to the increasing demand in food safety audits — and presents a severe threat to the whole food safety ecosystem. 

“The launch of this pilot marks a pivotal moment in the implementation of GFSI’s new Benchmarking Requirements for professional recognition bodies,” Erica Sheward, Director of GFSI said. “We’re confident that it will help to recognize the vital role of food safety auditors and safeguard ongoing take-up of the profession for years to come.”

To combat this, GFSI, a Coalition of Action of The Consumer Goods Forum that is recognized and used in the United States, has developed a new approach for the qualification of food safety auditors for GFSI-recognised Certification Programmes which offer to establish Professional Recognition Bodies in the sector responsible for validating common competencies in a food safety auditor.

The new Benchmarking Requirements will be tested through a pilot with Exemplar Global, who applied to become a GFSI-recognised PRB, and volunteering CPOs who will test the new model including FSSC 22000, BRC Global and SQFI. The launch will be marked in a Plenary session at the GFSI Conference taking place in Barcelona from 29th to 31st March. The pilot will be followed by a review of key learnings before a full transition of the entire GFSI ecosystem to the new model in 2023 and 2024. 

Andrew Baines, President & CEO of Exemplar Global, said, “The world relies on a safe and secure food supply chain and GFSI has established a key role in delivering this. Auditors of GFSI-recognised certification programs are on the front line in the protection of the supply chain. We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate at the GFSI Conference in Barcelona to ensure that auditors are the competent, well-skilled professionals that we need them to be.”

By harmonizing standards across the industry, GFSI hopes to safeguard a vital role within the industry — elevating the accessibility and perception of food safety auditing to be comparable with other well-respected auditing industries such as finance.  

GFSI is asking for organizations interested in becoming a GFSI recognized Professional Recognition Body to apply while the pilot is ongoing.

About the Global Food Safety Initiative
The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI; the Coalition) is a CEO-led Coalition of Action from The Consumer Goods Forum, bringing together retailers and manufacturers and an extended food safety community to help oversee food safety standards for businesses and help provide access to safe food for people everywhere.

As one of the world’s largest networks to help achieve safe food, GFSI is committed to making food safety everyone’s business and the Coalition members are addressing challenges facing food safety systems in their supply chains and the markets they operate in and are helping to raise the food safety bar globally.

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