GFSI – a Coalition of Action from The Consumer Goods Forum, bringing together retailers, manufacturers and the extended food safety community – developed the new benchmark in response to increasingly complex and duplicated requirements applying to new and existing auditors.
Erica Sheward, director of GFSI, said the launch of these benchmarking requirements would help to protect the vital role of food auditors and to increase the take-up of this profession.
Shrinking pool of talent
“The current qualifications and industry experience required for a food safety auditing career are stringent and specific – which narrows the field of potential recruits dramatically,” she added.
“By harmonising training and professional development across the industry, we can make food safety auditing an accessible, attainable and desirable profession for many more people – helping to safeguard the future of an essential component of the food safety ecosystem.”
Through the harmonisation of standards across the industry, GFSI hoped to safeguard auditing roles and elevate the accessibility and perception of food safety auditing to be comparable with other well-respected auditing industries such as finance.
Responsible for auditor standards
Now, Professional Recognition Bodies in the sector, will be set up as responsible for validating common competencies in a food safety auditor for all GFSI-recognised Certification Programme Owners.
The move, informed by an open consultation to gather input from a wide range of stakeholders, also means that the food industry can rely on this registration and validation to verify the competency of the auditor.
Meanwhile, a new best practice statement to respond to suppliers’ concerns about the way the large supermarkets are carrying out audits was unveiled by the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) today (30 September).