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PARIS, 14th July 2014 — The Global Food Safety Initiative is proud to release a paper on the position of the GFSI on Food Fraud mitigation. This work has been led by the GFSI Guidance Document Working Group(1) with the Food Fraud Think Tank(2), convened to further advance the food fraud mitigation topic.

In 2013, the GFSI Board of Directors asked the GFSI Guidance Document Working Group to work in collaboration with the Food Fraud Think Tank to draft wording for food fraud mitigation measures. The GFSI Guidance Document specifies the requirements for the GFSI benchmarking process which leads to the recognition of food safety management schemes and supports GFSI’s efforts to advance global food safety and public health.

In line with the GFSI’s mission statement, the additional requirements and food fraud definition ensure a focus on food safety, rather than other factors such as commercial gain. The requirements specify that companies perform a food fraud vulnerability assessment and to have a food fraud vulnerability control plan in place to mitigate the identified vulnerabilities.

In order to ensure transparency, the GFSI Board believes that the mitigation of food fraud is an integral part of a company’s food safety management system, and has therefore decided to include new requirements specific to food fraud mitigation in the next full revision of the GFSI Guidance Document 7th Edition which will be released in early 2016. GFSI commits to working in close co-operation with food safety management scheme owners and companies to ensure the risk to public health is appropriately managed and controlled until this revision is fully completed.

Commenting on the release of the position paper, Cenk Gurol, GFSI Board Chair and Vice President, Food Safety Initiative, Aeon Co. Ltd said: “Food fraud must be regarded as being a significant risk to human health, hence the involvement of the GFSI to facilitate with other industry bodies an agreed approach to mitigate this risk. GFSI regards the issue of food fraud as increasingly important and therefore has taken the initial steps to include criteria for its mitigation within the future requirements for GFSI recognized schemes”.

(1) GFSI Guidance Document Working Group

The GFSI Guidance Document Working Group is mandated by the GFSI Board to develop recommendations on all technical issues in relation to the GFSI Guidance Document. This work involves:

  • Defining procedures for the integration of the output from the sector-specific working groups into the GFSI Guidance Document
  • Provide recommendations to the sector-specific working groups on any issues that have arisen during their discussions
  • Deal with any issues encountered during the GFSI Benchmarking Process
  • Draft supporting documents for the GFSI Guidance Document, where needed, to ensure an effective benchmarking process.

(2) Food Fraud Think Tank

In 2012 the Food Fraud Think Tank was convened to further advance the food fraud mitigation topic. The members included Eurofins, bringing insights into the changing needs in analytical testing as well as certification; Inscatech, bringing experience from the supply chain security area and the Food Fraud Initiative at Michigan State University, leading the academic field of criminology with a special focus on food fraud. The manufacturers and retailers perspectives were represented respectively by Danone, Walmart and Royal Ahold.

Through to 2014 the Think Tank presented their findings and continued to develop their recommendation to the GFSI board on how to put effective systems in place to protect consumers from harm. The activities of the Think Tank have now shifted to the GFSI Technical Working Groups to pursue the implementation of the recommendation.

— ENDS —

The Global Food Safety Initiative

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a business-driven initiative for the continuous improvement of food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide. GFSI was launched in 2000 following a number of food safety crises when consumer confidence was at an all-time low. Its collaborative approach to food safety brings together international food safety experts from the entire food supply chain at technical working group and stakeholder meetings, conferences and regional events to share knowledge and promote a harmonized approach to managing food safety across the industry.
For more information, please visit: www.mygfsi.com.

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