What is GFSI Certification, and Why is it Important? 12/2/2021
When a small grower or a new facility is trying to enter the fresh produce market, the first hurdle is ensuring they have the appropriate food safety certification. Almost all major buyers will require at least a third-party audit, many requiring a GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) benchmarked audit.
So, why is this certification so important? First off, retailers want to know that you take food safety seriously and make it a priority. Retailers have their own reputation to protect as well as the safety of the consumers.
It is unlikely that we will ever live in a world where food recalls won’t happen; but, with a strong food safety program in place, the risks can be mitigated and lowered drastically. In the event of a food safety issue, traceability can quickly root out the cause and get faulty products off store shelves.
A food safety audit serves as a snapshot in time of the farm or facility. Auditors review logs, lab tests, water samples, records, and perform a visual inspection to determine if an operation is meeting the minimum requirements to be able to sell their product to a retailer.
The everyday consumer may not stop to ask the question, “Where does my produce come from?” They trust their retailer to make the best decision for them and that the retailer has done the due diligence to research, compare, and find the safest, most affordable, quality product. Having a well-documented and audited food safety program helps a supplier stand out in the crowd when retailers are doing their research.
What is the difference between a third-party audit and a GFSI benchmarked audit?
A third-party audit is perfect for newer operations or small growers new to the market to get their feet wet and get the attention of potential buyers. It is an audit conducted by an independent certification body (always be sure it is a certification body accepted by the buyer you are hoping to sell to).
A benchmarked audit, also a third-party audit, is a little more in-depth and has the backing of the GFSI. GFSI audits also have a larger global market in mind so the requirements are more in tune with global requirements which can be helpful for those hoping to export their products.
Having a GFSI audit gives organizations a “step up” in the market which resonates
with potential buyers that an organization is committed to food safety.
Am I ready for an audit?
Our team often receives calls from small growers or facilities who are ready to sell to retailers but aren’t sure where to start. The first thing you need is an established food safety program. You will also need at least three months of records; however, if you have a short season commodity, this can include records from the previous season. There will also be different types of lab tests you will have to keep on file and those records must be readily accessible. For more information on what an audit entails, you can review the necessary audit components on our company website or feel free to reach out to our team on RangeMe.
Our Primus Standard audit meets the minimum requirements for a third-party food safety audit. For those needing a GFSI benchmarked audit, we offer the PrimusGFS and GlobalG.A.P. audit schemes. In addition, we also offer NOP organic certification, Sedex SMETA, Sustainable Food Group certification, Tesco Nurture, Costco GMP certification, as well as many others.
We assist clients worldwide and have offices in California, Florida, Mexico, Chile, and Costa Rica. As a supplier stepping out into a major market for the first time, it can seem overwhelming and intimidating. We at Primus Auditing Ops will do everything we can to make the audit and certification process as seamless and stress-free as possible while ensuring the highest standards are maintained.
At Primus Auditing Ops, we are committed to helping those in the fresh produce industry get their foot in the door with major retailers as well as ensure the highest quality product is available to the consumer. From the field to the facility, our committed team of coordinators, quality assurance agents, and auditors work tirelessly to help organizations navigate through the audit process. Whether you are considering making that leap into the major retailer market or are already well established, our team is here to assist you. No matter the retailer or certification you are looking for, we can assist.
So if you’re a supplier looking for a food safety certification, log in to your RangeMe account and connect with Primus Auditing Ops through RangeMe Services here.