PARIS, 23rd July 2020 – The outcomes of GFSI’s open Consultation reveal support from all corners of the industry for GFSI’s vision of a future with safe food for consumers everywhere. Responses show broad support for the ambitious roadmap put forward and a readiness to go on a collective journey.
A Fruitful Multi-Stakeholder Consultation
The GFSI Team and the GFSI Board would like to thank each individual respondent for taking the time to provide valuable input, raise potential risks and highlight where clarifications are needed in the ‘Race to the Top’ framework. Since its genesis, collaboration has been the modus operandi of GFSI, and this stakeholder consultation process is a critical part of GFSI’s work.
We were delighted to see a robust representation across key stakeholder types – from Certification Bodies and Certification Programme Owners, to retailers and buyers, regulators, associations and more. A deep analysis of responses has been conducted since the close of the Consultation, and we are delighted to share the outcomes, which we feel will be beneficial to all in the next phases of GFSI’s work, including those who did not participate in the Consultation.
What the ‘Race to the Top’ Entails
The ‘Race to the Top’ is a whole package of initiatives designed to drive continuous improvement. It was first announced at the 2020 GFSI Conference in Seattle. GFSI consulted on four features of a wider conceptual framework that responds to recent challenges around trust and confidence in existing mechanisms including third-party certification, audit efficacy and harmonisation.
The framework proposes to enhance GFSI oversight on every aspect of the GFSI ecosystem with the aim of improving trust, transparency and confidence in GFSI-recognised certification and audit outcomes. Additionally, GFSI is seeking to assert its place in the food safety ecosystem to stay true to its roots as a benchmarking and harmonisation organisation responsible for the ‘what’ – not the ‘how’ – of food safety.
Four fundamental features were shaped with the support of our stakeholders, comprising representatives from accreditation bodies, Certification Bodies, Certification Programme Owners, members and the broader industry who provided significant inputs between the October 2019 and February 2020 GFSI Board Meetings.
The features of this framework were then put forward for Consultation:
How Stakeholders Responded
Responses to the Consultation show broad recognition that these four features are the right ones to prioritise, that these are the areas that can have the most positive impact and that GFSI is the right organisation for the job. Stakeholders who responded raised some concerns about the proposed pace of change, which they felt could prove challenging. A number of responses suggested a lack of understanding around what GFSI is intending to do. GFSI has provided responses to each comment raised and has indicated how all input will be taken into account moving forward.
What’s Next for the ‘Race to the Top’?
During this Consultation, GFSI was commended for its unique role in facilitating effective dialogue between multiple actors in the food safety ecosystem. This role will be front and centre in the next phase of the ‘Race to the Top’ initiative, where GFSI will move to the design, development and implementation phases of these features in collaboration with subject matter experts. Stakeholders will be invited to engage with GFSI as we move at pace to ensure safer food for consumers everywhere.
Access the full Consultation response.