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The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has established a new Benchmarking and Harmonisation Working Group to develop and maintain GFSI Benchmarking Requirements (BMR). Co-chaired by Andrew Clarke from Loblaw and Leda Touliatou from Nestlé, this group will integrate updates from international standards including ISO 22003 and relevant Codex Codes of Practice such as Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene, aiming to deliver a new set of BMR by the end of 2024. 

Leda Touliatou expressed her gratitude and commitment: “Thank you for the honour of nominating me as co-chair of the GFSI Benchmarking working group. I am deeply committed to supporting GFSI’s mission and working tirelessly alongside you and the members of this group to achieve our targets.”

Andrew Clarke highlighted the importance of this role: “The GFSI Benchmarking and Harmonisation Working Group co-chair position presents a unique opportunity to support and help to drive global food safety standards forward through the next reiteration of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements. It has been 4 years since the last edition was published, much has changed within the food safety landscape however through the active participation and engagement of the newly formed team of food safety experts, my incredible co-chair and the support of the GFSI Steering Committee I have no doubt that we will be able to deliver a new version of the GFSI Benchmarking by year end. Exciting times for food safety standards and for me personally as the team progresses the work forward at pace.”

The working group is set to focus on a specific list of priorities defined by the GFSI Technical Sub Committee and communicated during the 2023 GFSI Conference in Atlanta. This includes clarifying and refining the intent of specific BMR elements, with an emphasis on transparency and inclusivity in its process. Details of the upcoming work plan are expected in the coming weeks, with the activities kicking off on 21 May 2024.

The governance structure now features increased industry representation, aiming for a 75%/25% industry to other stakeholders ratio by the end of the year, ensuring the work adheres to strict rules of confidentiality, impartiality, and conflict of interest. GFSI will engage with a broad array of stakeholders, including Certification Program Owners, Certification Bodies, Accreditation Bodies, and Regulatory Agencies, and will open consultations for stakeholder comments starting as early as July 2024.

For more information and to stay updated on the progress, stakeholders are encouraged to visit mygfsi.com or contact GFSIBM@theconsumergoodsforum.com. This initiative is set to make significant contributions to global food safety standards, driven by collective expertise and a shared commitment to enhancing food safety management.

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