GFSI, or Global Food Safety Initiative, is an initiative that brings together key actors of the food industry to collaboratively drive continuous improvement in food management safety systems around the world. Together, these actors work on a multitude of projects to drive global change in food safety.
The need for a body like GFSI became clearer in the 1990’s. Global food crises like BSE, dioxin and listeria hit the food industry hard. What also became clear was how diluted and non-uniform in-house standards at food companies had become. The standards were so different that quality control and food safety became unpredictable and inconsistent. Recognizing this, CEO’s at the world’s largest food retailers working through the Food Business Forum (now the CGF, or Consumer Goods Forum) came together and created GFSI in May of 2000 in order to address the inconsistency in food standards.
GFSI Recognition - Standards
GFSI is not a regulatory body. They do not set required standards or undertake any accreditation or certification programs. However, GFSI does recognize certain food standards such as BRC (British Retail Consortium) and SQFI (Safe Quality Food Institute). It also sets bench marking requirements for these food standards in order to officially recognize them.
GFSI is strictly concerned with food safety and all industries where this is applicable. They are not at all concerned with other related areas such as animal safety or environmental standards. This is an important distinction to make because the term ‘food safety’ is wide reaching and spans across many industries.
GFSI for FIBCs
When it comes to FIBCs, there are 4 GFSI recognized food standard organizations that impact the industry:
- BRC - British Retail Consortium: BRC Global Standard for Packaging & Packaging Materials Issue 4 (click here for more info).
- SQF - Safe Quality Food Institute: SQF Code 7th Edition; Level 2 (click here for more info).
- Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC) (click here for more info)
- International Featured Standards (IFS): IFS PAC secure, Version 1 (click here for more info).
There is no such thing as a ‘GFSI certified’ bag distributor and/or manufacturer. However, the BRC, SQFI, FSSC and IFS all certify facilities. Facilities certified by these organizations have the ability to produce food grade bags.
Food grade bulk bags are an increasingly popular product in the food industry. Due to their lightweight, flexible fabric, affordability, and variety of construction options; FIBCs have proven themselves to be a reliable alternative to other types of bulk containers.
GFSI is a growing organization that is increasingly influential. The blueprint of standards recognized by the organization has created more uniformity in an industry lacking consistent standards. Next time you’re purchasing food grade bags, ask your suppliers about GFSI. Test their knowledge about food grade bags. You need a partner that knows about the specific regulations and challenges the food industry faces.
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