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The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) first published a position paper in 2014 in which the GFSI Board recognised “the importance of food fraud mitigation and the urgency to start performing food fraud vulnerability assessments and implementing associated control plans.” This was only the beginning of our work on a seemingly new food industry topic that challenges traditional approaches to food safety management systems.

From the publication of this position paper, it was worth considering for the GFSI Board that food fraud was a potential root cause of food safety hazards. As the role of food safety management systems is primarily to assure food safety, it was expected for these systems to address food fraud. To guarantee this, key elements on food fraud were introduced in version 7 of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements, subsequently fully rolled out in version 7.2 in March 2018. Through a domino effect this would ensure that food fraud is considered in the food safety management systems of any operations certified against a GFSI-recognised certification programme.

As this has started to trickle down to certification programmes’ standards and into audits, we thought it would be the right time to revisit the GFSI requirements on food fraud and further develop the intentions and expectations behind them.

While food fraud mitigation may seem daunting and a near impossible objective, we are fortunate to now have clarity and a coordinated approach on this critical vulnerability. The GFSI Benchmarking Requirements set the foundation to put a pragmatic and practical plan in place.

GFSI always takes a proactive approach to shift the focus from reaction to prevention. Over time, greater harmonization of terms and methodologies will lead to sharing of best practices. By working together, we are creating an opportunity to better protect our customers, our industry, and our companies.

As the GFSI position paper on food fraud published in 2014 states, “the vision is that, like the introduction of food defence into the Guidance Document a few years ago, the mitigation of food fraud and the potential impact on consumers’ health becomes an integral part of a company’s food safety management system.”

Download our latest technical document on food fraud to learn more.

This post was written and contributed by:

Gillian Kelleher
V.P. of Food Safety and Quality Assurance, WEGMANS
Vice-Chair of the GFSI Board of Directors

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