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GFSI promotes continuous improvement in food safety management program

April 11, 2012
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GFSI programThe Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) released its Global Markets Programme for Primary Production, which complements the Manufacturing Programme publication released in July 2011. These comprehensive, step-by-step programs guide businesses and producers through a continuous improvement process in their food safety management systems, thus facilitating local market access and creating mutual acceptance along the supply chain.

The GFSI Global Markets Primary Production Technical Working Group began meeting in early 2010 to define the food safety management requirements a primary products supplier should have in place for the two levels of the program: basic and intermediate. The working group consists of food safety experts from producer, retail and manufacturing companies as well as international organizations, academic institutions, certification bodies and scheme owners. They based their work on food safety management documentation for the primary production sector, drawing on existing industry output.

The scope of the primary production program covers crops, fruits and vegetables. The basic and intermediate level requirements are available in a checklist format, and are further supported by assessor guidelines for each level as well as a detailed protocol to guide suppliers through each step of the program. By incrementally progressing through these two steps of the program, primary producers are guided along the path to achieving full certification against one of the GFSI-recognized schemes for primary production.

Numerous pilot programs to test market readiness of the basic and intermediate level requirements have been successfully carried out in countries such as Kenya, Uganda and the Dominican Republic.

“This is truly a valuable tool for producers with less experience in food safety management systems, as it provides a framework for assessment and continuous improvement,” says Marc Cwikowski, chair of the Global Markets Primary Production Technical Working Group and director, food safety and supplier quality at The Coca-Cola Company. “Our aim is that through the implementation of this program on a global scale, producers around the world will be able to progress over time in a harmonized and systematic way toward obtaining certification against one of the GFSI recognized schemes for primary production.”

To download the Global Markets Programme and supporting documentation, visit www.mygfsi.com.

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