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At the end of October 2018, GFSI recognised the certification programme “JFS-C (EIV sector)” from Japan Food Safety Management Association (JFSM). We asked Mr. Tokuji Nishitani, President, Mr. Tetsuro Ohba, Secretary General, Senior Director of Technical Affairs and Mr. Masakazu Nakatani, Senior Director of Strategic Promotion, about the process for recognition, the plans for future activities and ambitions.

(GFSI Japan Local Group, Communication WG – hereinafter as GFSI) Congratulations on obtaining GFSI recognition. First of all, could you tell us the brief overview and activity policy of your association?

(Japan Food Safety Management Association – hereinafter as JFSM) – In 2016, JFSM was established to create Japanese food safety management certification standards by 18 companies, including food manufacturers, distribution and food service as well as two experts as founders. Our main mission is to improve food safety management and increase consumer confidence by creating and disseminating the certification system of JFS as the food safety management standards. We aim to contribute in response to the upcoming institutionalisation of HACCP based on the revised Food Sanitation Act, as well as to expand food exports by establishing the safety management standards that will become a common infrastructure throughout the supply chain, thereby reducing the cost of food safety management for business operators. We also participate in activities such as making international food safety rules.

(GFSI) What are the features of JFS standards and the current status of certifications acquired by organisations ?

(JFMS) JFS-C Standard is characterised by the introduction of the “kaizen” approach from the bottom-up, a strength of Japanese quality control, as a requirement. In addition, JFS is a step-up system that enables small and medium-sized businesses to establish food safety management and provides standards and guidelines in easy-to-understand Japanese so that everyone can get started. We would like to widely promote Japanese food culture, including raw food and fermented food, to the world by making use of JFS standards. This January marked our third anniversary since the establishment of JFSM. As of the end of December 2018, 118 conformity statements have been issued against JFS-B Standard and 57 certifications have been issued against the JFS-C Standard.

(GFSI) Why did you apply for the GFSI Benchmarking Process?

(JFSM) To have JFS standards recognised by GFSI proves globally that the JFS-C Standard is on par with the international standards. GFSI recognition can increase the credibility of food safety management of business operators that make use of JFS system. We would like to make people feel safe when food business operators are certified to the JFS-C Standard.

(GFSI) Do you have any particular thoughts about the process to obtain GFSI recognition?

(JFSM) To meet GFSI’s benchmarking requirements, various processes and rules were needed to make our certification scheme more reliable. For example, the Certification Programme Owner (CPO) is required to establish the “Integrity Programme” in order to ensure the credibility of the certification bodies. We strived to restructure the analysis method of the database and introduced the mechanism to monitor the activities of the certification bodies. As a result, we were able to receive a high evaluation from GFSI.

(GFSI) What are your specific activities going forward?

(JFSM) At the Food Safety and Confidence Symposium held in November last year, 38 food business operators including manufacturers, distributors, food services and others expressed their desire to make use of JFS standards. For small and medium-sized businesses, it is effective to use the step-up programmes of JFS-A and JFS-B. JFS-A Standard has been upgraded to the second version in January this year to be able to respond to the institutionalisation of HACCP, “sanitary management that incorporates the concept of HACCP” under the Revised Food Sanitation Act. We would like to promote JFS-A Standard further to reach more business operators in the near future. On the other hand, JFS-B Standard includes all the requirements of Codex HACCP, enabling it to be compatible with upcoming “sanitary management based on HACCP.” We expect that conformity statements against the JFS-B Standard reach 500 in 2019. Lastly, JFS-C Certification Programme, which has obtained GFSI recognition, is also scheduled for the upgrade this spring in order to meet the latest version of GFSI requirements, and application for scope extension to a new sector for GFSI recognition is planned as well. At the same time, we would like to work on fostering specialised human resources for food safety management in cooperation with universities. At the end of last year, we approved the food safety training and audit training courses at Kagoshima University as the JFSM-approved training course.

(GFSI) How is it going to increase certified companies overseas?

(JFSM) There are countries with interests in JFS standards among ASEAN countries. In order to promote the certification overseas, we need a partnership with a certification body overseas as well as a foreign-affiliated certification body. This year, we would like to build a global partnership and perform adequately by building up a number of model cases using JFS standards overseas.

(GFSI)) How about your plans for sector expansion in the near future?

(JFSM) The goal is to be able to include the sectors beyond the primary agricultural products covered by GAP in the food chain that runs from the farm to the fork. We would like to prioritise and increase the number of sectors based on food risk and social needs. This year, we plan to announce the “food service” and “transportation / storage” standards. From next year, we will consider to develop standards such as “Food packaging” and “Retail”. JFS standards aim to become a common social infrastructure for food safety management.

(GFSI) Thank you very much for your valuable talk today.

photo: (left) Mr. Masakazu Nakatani, Senior Director/Strategic Promotion, (center) Mr. Tokuji Nishitani, President (right) Mr. Tetsuro Ohba, Secretary General, Senior Director/Technical Affairs)

Japan Food Safety Management Association
Website: https://www.jfsm.or.jp/eng/ 
Address: BUREX Kojimachi bldg., 5-2, Kojimachi 3-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0083
Phone: +81-3-6268-9691

This blog was written and contributed by:

Masaki Kotani
Head of Product / Food Safety & Compliance
Amazon Japan G.K.

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