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GFSI is seeking evidence on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in food safety auditing to inform the work of the Working Group on the use of Information and Communication Technologies in auditing.

The use of Information and Communication Technologies has been growing steadily in daily life, both at home and at work, and increasingly in auditing practices. ‘Remote’ audit practices are already common in some industries and emerging in others such as the food industry.

In June 2020, with the help of the GFSI Stakeholder Advisory Forum, GFSI introduced new Benchmarking Requirements providing a framework for the use of ICT by GFSI-recognised CPOs.

When publishing these amended Benchmarking Requirements, GFSI committed to reviewing our position on this topic regularly as new data and evidence becomes available on the efficacy of audits using such technologies.

In line with this commitment, GFSI set up a Working Group of academic experts to provide an independent review of the evidence regarding the use of ICT during food safety audits as a means of verifying compliance of the audited organisation and its food safety practices.

The Group’s Mandate

The objectives of the Working Group of Academics will be to:

  1. Review evidence offered as to the efficacy of audits and inspections using ICT in guaranteeing a similar outcome to traditional onsite audits;
  2. Clarify different types of usage of ICT i.e. replacement/enhancement of regimes based upon site visits;
  3. Consider the criteria by which the use of ICT in food safety audits could be considered an effective alternative to onsite audits.

Call for Evidence

The Group invites interested parties to submit evidence regarding the use of ICT in assuring food safety either through audits facilitated by ICT, or through alternative uses of ICT that render the process less dependent upon traditional site visits.

We would like to receive:

  • Experiences of using video/remote meetings to facilitate food safety audits;
  • Evaluations of the impact of using video/remote meetings to facilitate audits on food safety;
  • Evaluations of the impact of other uses of technologies on food safety audits;
  • Evaluations of the impact of other uses of Information and Communication Technologies on food safety audits;
  • Evidence of the barriers to the adoption of technology by food businesses, particularly smaller businesses and in locations with limited technological infrastructure.

The submissions will only be considered if they include evidence of evaluation and analysis, although the Group recognises that traditional academic and scientific methods of evaluation may be difficult to apply in this context. Promotional and purely descriptive submissions will not be considered.

The Group is also interested in evidence regarding the barriers to the adoption of technology by smaller food businesses and in countries with limited technological infrastructure.

Please send submissions by email to: mc.quentin@theconsumergoodsforum.com by 30 November 2020, but earlier if possible.

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