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GFSI is seeking academic experts to join a Working Group on the use of Information and Communication Technologies in auditing.

The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) (1) has been growing steadily in daily lives, 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 is setting up a Working Group of five 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.

The panel will focus their work on food safety audits and inspections but may not restrict themselves to these, taking data and evidence from other sectors where the use of ICT and remote audits/inspections may be used.

How to Apply

Candidates will be selected to ensure the combined presence of the following expertise in the group:

  • inspection and auditing practices, in food specifically but also in other industries;
  • food safety monitoring practices;
  • use of Information and Communication Technologies;
  • food safety related discipline.

In order to maintain the independence of the group, experts will be preferably drawn from the academic community, without commercial links to the food industry and its commercial service providers.

The Working Group participants will also be selected to ensure representation from diverse regions of the world and a global perspective.

With the exception of composition rules, the group will follow the GFSI rules of governance applicable to Working Groups. This includes monthly videoconferences to which presence will be compulsory for the length of the group’s mandate (NB: no physical meetings are expected to be required for this group). The candidates therefore need to obtain support from their current employer to take part to this Working Group.

All meetings and communication for this Working Group will be held in English.


Please note that this Call for Participation is now closed. Be sure to subscribe to GFSI News to be notified of any upcoming opportunities.

The group is expected to run between 1st October and 31st December 2020.

(1) Information and Communication Technologies: The use of technology for gathering, storing, retrieving, processing, analysing and transmitting information. It includes software and hardware such as smart phones, handheld devices, laptop computers, desktop computers, drones, video cameras, wearable technology, artificial intelligence, emails, and others (GFSI Benchmarking Requirements part IV Version 2020.1)

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