On 8th December 2022, GFSI announced the suspension of International Featured Standards (IFS) a GFSI recognised CPO for a period of 3 months following identified breaches of GFSI benchmarking requirements, GFSI Governance Rules and the GFSI and CPO Benchmarking agreement. The GFSI Steering Committee decided those breaches, touching on the implementation of a GFSI recognised programme, represented a risk to the integrity of GFSI recognition.
On 12th December 2022, GFSI clearly set out to IFS the grounds for the suspension and what actions were needed from IFS to demonstrate re-alignment with GFSI requirements. GFSI has continuously worked with IFS throughout the suspension period. Whilst consistently liaising with the parties involved to provide clear guidelines on remediation, GFSI does not make public comments on ongoing sanction cases.
On 13th February 2023, in line with GFSI Governance Rules, an independent Appeal Committee met to discuss an appeal by International Featured Standards (IFS) against the sanction. The Appeal Committee which was convened in line with GFSI Governance Rules, unanimously decided that the suspension of IFS should continue until 8th March 2023 as originally imposed and that suitable remediation by IFS had still not been provided to GFSI.
GFSI continues to communicate its expectations to IFS to collaborate on a solution to meet remediation requirements. In the spirit of cooperation, GFSI has offered to facilitate a meeting between IFS and a GFSI benchmark leader on Friday, 3rd March to further enable IFS to provide suitable remediation.
GFSI is pleased to note that IFS has accepted this invitation. GFSI-recognised certification is a mark of the highest standards in food safety, and ultimately it is GFSI’s duty to monitor the performance of all GFSI recognised certification programmes (CPOs) and ensure ongoing alignment with GFSI’s requirements for the safety of consumers around the world. GFSI recognition is a voluntary system which comprises not only recognition of a certification program as meeting GFSI requirements but also oversight of ongoing alignment.
GFSI will continue to hold GFSI Recognised CPOs accountable to ensure the ongoing integrity of the certification programmes that GFSI recognizes and to ensure trust and confidence in the work of GFSI.