GFSI is globally renowned as a benchmarking organisation for private food safety certification programmes. Since 2014, GFSI has also administered a much more modest programme of assessment for food safety certification standards owned by public agencies, called Technical Equivalence (TE). Since its launch TE has gained interest from a few eligible organisations.
Since its creation, the Technical Equivalence assessment has raised concerns across many GFSI stakeholders disproportionate to its impact on GFSI’s purpose of safe food for people everywhere; in 2020, GFSI therefore decided that a strategic review of Technical Equivalence was required to redefine its place within GFSI’s activities, and address the aspects of its process, at the root cause of our stakeholders’ concerns.
In a first stage, GFSI would like to run a formal stakeholder survey to identify the aspects of Technical Equivalence that our stakeholders appreciate, those that need to be improved, and link Technical Equivalence more strongly to at least one of GFSI’s targeted outcomes:
- Harmonisation: GFSI-recognised, accredited, third-party certification guarantees a Food Safety System (FSS) that provides essential elements for the provision of safe food for people everywhere.
- Capability building: Enabling improvements in the FSS of Food Business Operators (FBOs) not certified to a GFSI-recognised programme, such that they are able to achieve GFSI certification and /or regulatory compliance resulting in safer food for people everywhere.
- Public-private Partnerships: Food safety regulators trust that GFSI-recognised certification can be used for risk-based resource allocation and, together with IGOs and the wider food industry, common food safety risks are addressed in a standardised way.
GFSI is pleased to launch a strategic review of TE and invites all interested stakeholders to participate. This review will initially take the form of a series of structured interviews with those organisations currently acknowledged by GFSI under the TE programme and a wider stakeholder consultation questionnaire which can be accessed here.
We look forward to hearing your views. The consultation will close on 14th December 2021.
Further information about TE can be found on our website.