Stakeholder News

IAF Supports GFSI’s New Strategy and Race To The Top

Marie-Claude Quentin
Senior Technical Manager, GFSI
The Consumer Goods Forum

During our annual food safety conference in Seattle in February 2020, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) announced a bold new vision designed to shape what was termed ‘The Race to The Top’ (RTTT). This was in response to growing concerns that despite best efforts to improve aspects of the GFSI ecosystem, trust and confidence in GFSI certificates was at an all-time low, and something radical had to be done rapidly to address the inherent audit outputs.

In the same week, the GFSI Board unanimously voted in favour of four initial features specifically designed to improve the sphere of influence that GFSI had over its entire food safety certification and assurance system:

  1. Developing harmonisation and benchmarking requirements for providers of food safety auditor training and ongoing Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
  2. Moving to deliver a process of ongoing assessment and continuous alignment to the GFSI requirements for certification programme owners (CPOs).
  3. Developing a collaborative approach to the management of Certification Bodies (CBs) between CPOs, Accreditation Bodies (ABs) and GFSI.
  4. Developing a certificate platform – enabling access to certificate data of all food business operators (FBOs) certified to a GFSI-recognised Programme.

These four initial features were shaped with the support of our stakeholders, most specifically the IAF GFSI Task Force, which provided significant inputs between the GFSI Board meeting in Chengdu in October 2019 and our GFSI Board meeting in Seattle in February 2020.

Following this momentous announcement, GFSI opened a public stakeholder consultation during which we invited interested stakeholders to share their suggestions as to how each feature should be developed and implemented and which stakeholders should be involved. The IAF again supported us and provided a comprehensive answer to this consultation compiled by the IAF Food Working Group.

The consultation was swiftly followed by an engagement plan, in which GFSI detailed the mechanisms implemented to progress development of the features with the support of our entire stakeholder community. The IAF has a significant role in this engagement plan, specifically in the further work required to deliver features 3 and 4:

  • The IAF Database Management Committee and GFSI are exploring collaboration opportunities on feature 4 (a certificate platform).
  • The IAF Food Working Group has established a task force to lead discussion on feature 3 (the IAF GFSI RTTT task force); the task force has already started their work and is set to have constructive conversations around the collaborative management of CBs between ABs and GFSI-recognised scheme owners.

More information on the features themselves and how to get involved may be found on our website:

GFSI is very thankful for the continuing support the IAF has provided to us in this endeavour. Our organisations share many common objectives and we are very much looking forward to walking this journey together.

Categories: Stakeholder News