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On the heels of World Food Safety Day underlining that Food Safety is Everyone’s Business, today’s World Accreditation Day marks the role of Accreditation in Improving Food Safety.

GFSI is delighted that the cross-industry International Accreditation Forum (IAF) has chosen to focus on food safety for the 2020 edition. This world day is an exceptional vehicle to raise awareness around the key role accreditation plays in ensuring safe food for consumers everywhere.

In fact, GFSI has been growing its partnership with IAF to unlock further value for stakeholders, as GFSI’s Marie-Claude Quentin explains in her #WAD2020 blog post. As part of the GFSI Experts Series, she sat down with Aldin Hilbrands (FSSC 22000) and Stephan Tromp (IFS), to assess how the GFSI-IAF MoU has benefited their organisations. You can watch the interview on GFSI’s YouTube channel here or read it below.

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to join the conversation using the hashtags #WAD2020 and #GFSI! And just in case you missed it, here’s a look back at what we published last week for our #WorldFoodSafetyDay campaign!

Marie-Claude: FSSC has just recently become a member of the IAF, and IFS has just initiated a membership process with IAF. This is following the Memorandum of Understanding that GFSI signed with IAF about two years ago, agreeing that the process for GFSI-recognised organisations would be facilitated so you could become members (more easily). I wanted to ask you, first, what value you saw for your organisations in becoming members of the International Accreditation Forum.

Aldin: We became a member of IAF back in 2017 because we are a global scheme, and strengthening the relationship with accreditation bodies, harmonisation (and) the way they accredit or license CBs is very important. We decided to become (an) IAF member to be at the table … and bring more credibility to our scheme.

Stephan: IFS is also a global scheme. We work with certification bodies around the globe. We have to deal with different accreditations and accreditation bodies. IAF membership is really helpful for us, because then we have just to tell the IAF — and of course, in Europe, the European Accreditation Forum — the latest news about our standards. That was the main reason.

Marie-Claude: So the IAF (is) a great forum where you can bridge to all the ABs you work with around the world in one place, so to say.

Stephan: Yes.

Aldin: They have a working group (for) food, and that working group … convenes (under) two fantastic leaders. We can sit there, talk (and) determine the agenda from a food safety perspective. That is a huge opportunity that we should use.

Stephan: And of course, with the development of every new version of our food standard, we can also, in advance, present our ideas and discuss and see what is possible, what will be accepted and what (will) not. That helps, of course, a lot in the preparation of a new version.

Marie-Claude: The next question I wanted to ask you is (about the fact) that the MoU between GFSI and the IAF stated that the IAF should make it easier for GFSI-recognised certification programme owners to become members and then signatory of the IAF MLA. I wanted your on-the-ground experience of this. How has this been working for you?

Stephan: Really simple. GFSI prepares the ground. Understanding the whole discussion with GFSI and IAF in front of that was very helpful, because we (did not have) to explain from scratch. There was a general understanding, and we had just to (add) on our specific things. And so (what GFSI did) was really helpful for us.

Aldin: We are going through that process right now. … If I think about CPOs that are recognised by GFSI, GlobalGAP (was) the first one, even before the MLA was signed, to go through that process. Now, with the MLA, I expect that there will be more CPOs to follow, because there’s a lot of added value, and it’s made relatively simple based on the fact that (the certification programmes) have already been benchmarked by GFSI. So we don’t need to redo that again. That’s, I think, a fantastic benefit for us, as well.

Marie-Claude: Well, thank you very much, both of you, for taking the time to join me here, and I hope you enjoy the conference.

Aldin: Thank you.

Stephan: I hope we do. Thank you.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to join the conversation for World Accreditation Day! Be sure to use the hashtags #WAD2020  and #GFSI. We invite you to engage with us on our Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and subscribe to GFSI News to make sure you do not miss a thing!

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