Global Food Safety Initiative audits are the most popular audits. Back in the year of 2000 Consumers Goods Forum invented Global Food Safety Initiative and released the guideline for uniform food safety system. The intention behind GFSI was to create a globally recognized food safety standard to reduce redundancy in auditing and food safety requirements.
GFSI concept calls for a food safety system where HACCP plan is the center component, supported by Pre-requisite programs, GMPs, Internal Audits and Verification / Validation activities. GFSI adopted Codex Alimentarius 12 steps of HACCP with its 5 preliminary steps and 7 HACCP principles. At the same time GFSI calls for compliance with relevant food safety legislation in the county of manufacture and country of sale (if known).
Duration of the GFSI audits depends on the size of facility and the number of HACCP plans at your operation. In the US there are 2 leading GFSI certification schemes. These are SQF and BRC.
In our consulting work we get asked at times; which standard is better?
There is no easy answer to that. Essentially both standards are GFSI benchmarked or GFSI recognized. This means they follow the same guidelines but may vary in detail on how the certification schemes see the implementation of the guideline. Core elements are the same and regardless of which standard you go with (SQF or BRC) your food safety system must have the same elements such as food safety / HACCP plan, pre-requisite Programs, GMPs, internal audits, etc.
One thing that makes SQF unique from other GFSI benchmarked standards is its separate code for food quality certification. Companies that wish to achieve food quality certification, (in addition to food safety GFSI benchmarked certification) must develop a food quality plan using HACCP method. Based on quality risk assessment they must identify critical quality points and management components to CQPs such as monitoring, corrective actions, verification, and record keeping procedures. For businesses that except using their GFSI certification to maintain a robust food safety system, wish to use food quality certification for marketing purposes, SQF may be a better deal. Food Quality Certification may be a deciding factor when biding for new business.
At the end of the day, both SQF and BRC provide the same level of assurance that the food you make is safe and appropriate controls are implemented throughout your process.
Our firm, BD Food Safety Consultants LLC assist businesses with achieving their GFSI certification. We are registered SQF Consultants in high-risk operations and specialize in GAP assessments and complex assistance with audit preparations. If you are thinking of getting your business certified with SQF or BRC standards, contact us today at 815-641-6404 or by filling out contact form on our website at https://bdfoodsafety.com/contact-us/