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In October 2022, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Technical Subcommittee  initiated essential preparation work under the former Stakeholder Advisory Forum Working Group (SAFWG) to begin the process of developing a new version of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements (BMRs).  This work has now evolved under the remit of the new GFSI Benchmarking and Harmonisation Working Group (BHWG). This  vital work is part of a strategic effort to propose new benchmarking requirements (BMRs) that reflect the latest industry standards and insights.

The GFSI Technical Subcommittee identified several areas for revision, particularly focusing on mandatory changes such as incorporating CODEX Codes of Hygiene, relevant updates to ISO 22003, and integrating key learnings and feedback from GFSI assessments conducted since the last BMR publication. 

The primary objective is to clarify the intent of the impacted BMRs ensuring that the GFSI BMRs remain robust and relevant.

As the stakeholder consultation phase approaches for these proposed changes to the BMRs, we are pleased to share the reflections of newcomers to the GFSI BMHWG showcasing the collaborative effort and expertise that underpins this important process.

This week, we are delighted to focus the spotlight on GFSI working group newcomers, Karin Botha, Business Lead: Food Supply Chain and Food Advisory at NSF and Kinsey Clishe, Food Safety Manager at North Bay Produce. Their insights and experiences bring valuable perspectives to our collective mission of improving standards of food safety globally.


Reflecting on Karin’s experience so far, she shares:

“The working group is very well-organized, with clear expectations set for each member. I thoroughly enjoy the interactions and discussions within our team, and I’m inspired by the positive attitude of all parties involved. I am confident that our group’s input will contribute to enhancing global food safety. The inclusion of various retail and other stakeholders is crucial, as it helps secure their buy-in and commitment.”

Karin’s emphasis on the value of clear organisation and positive collaboration highlights the strength of our working group. Her appreciation for the constructive interactions within the team showcases the positive atmosphere we strive to maintain. Karin’s belief in the group’s potential to make a global impact on food safety, along with the importance of involving diverse retail and other role-players, underscores areas where we can continue to grow and enhance our collective efforts.

Kinsey shares her journey and the collaborative spirit that drives our efforts:

“Being part of the GFSI Benchmarking and Harmonisation Working Group has been valuable. We are currently working in subgroups to discuss specific benchmarking requirement revisions as prompted by the GFSI Technical Sub Committee. My subgroup has been productive, meeting once a week for the past month, and the entire working group will meet next week to discuss all suggested revisions.”

Kinsey further elaborates on the challenges and rewards encountered by the working group:

“Delivering new benchmarking requirements by the end of this year is a challenge [in] itself. The working group has been fully engaged to meet this quick turnaround, reviewing current requirements, and prompting meaningful discussion to revise current requirements for clarity and alignment with new international food safety standards. Since this is a global group that is geographically separated, meetings can be very early or late for some members, which further proves the commitment of this group.”

“It is rewarding to work as a team to further the GFSI mission of harmonizing food safety standards to provide safe food for people everywhere. As a member of the produce industry, speaking into food safety practices and complexities that are unique to primary production sites is beneficial. It is exciting to learn from and leverage the unique perspectives of various GFSI stakeholders from industry, certifying bodies, and certification program owners to ensure thoughtful revisions are recommended.”

Kinsey’s reflections underscore the dedication and collaborative efforts that define the working group. Her acknowledgment of the geographical and temporal challenges we face highlights the unwavering commitment of our members to achieving our shared goals.

These experiences demonstrate the collective effort and diverse perspectives that drive the continual improvement of the GFSI BMRs. They also underscore the diverse  expertise that GFSI brings together through its unique forums. We look forward to engaging with the wider community during the stakeholder consultation phase and incorporating valuable feedback to finalise the new GFSI BMRs Version 2024!

For more information, please contact gfsibm@theconsumergoodsforum.com.

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