GFSI Audits are more valuable than HACCP / GMP Audits

Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Audits have been around for the past 20 years. Prior to GFSI the industry would accept HACCP / GMP Audits. In recent years we observed HACCP / GMP audits to adopt some of the elements of GFSI audit however there is still a significant difference between the two types of audits.

GFSI audit codes are written according to GFSI guideline document, and all contain the same elements. Some of the examples of GFSI audit include SQF (Safe Quality Foods), BRC (British Retail Consortium) and FSSC 22000. As far as HACCP / GMP audits, these standards vary between particular audit codes as there is no one specific guideline document.

Global Food Safety Initiative was defined in the year 2000 by Consumers Goods Forum. The concept of globally recognized food safety standard requires that HACCP plan is a center component of the food safety system. Pre-requisite Programs supporting HACCP plans contain very specific elements. Verification and Validation is not only required for the HACCP plan but also for Programs and Good Manufacturing Practices. Global Food Safety Initiative emphasizes Internal Audits.

HACCP / GMP Audits have similar elements with a lot less emphasis on verification and validation of Pre-requisite Programs and Internal Audits. In addition, Pre-requisite programs under those audit criteria may be more relaxed and not account for certain elements. In addition, audit requirements between different audit codes may vary significantly.

It is perceived that HACCP/GMP audit codes account for about 65% – 70% of requirements that are included in GFSI audits.

Food safety audits not only ensure your food safety system meets certain criteria but often are a marketing tool. Larger retailers mandate GFSI audits for suppliers of private brand products and more often for all suppliers.

This means the type of audit certification you have may determine whether you get the business or not.  For smaller companies that very often outsource consulting services in preparations to 3rd party audits, preparations for any audit may pose a significant cost. In many cases a 3rd party audit is seen as an investment in the business. If you looked at the possibility of pursuing an audit certification and costs associated with preparations, you probably noticed that both types of audits require significant finance resources. In many cases business owners decide to pursue GFSI audits to ensure their investment in food safety allows them to bid for business with larger companies.

When speaking with our clients we always recommend GFSI level audits. This will provide a robust food safety system and will get you the best return on your investment. The team at BD Food Safety Consultants are registered SQF Consultants in high-risk product categories. We also help companies with preparations to other GFSI audits such as BRC, IFS and Primus GFS and any other 3rd party audits. Contact us today at [email protected]