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Is GFSI Certification worth it?


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Poll: Is GFSI Certification worth it? (113 member(s) have cast votes)

Is GFSI Certification worth it?

  1. Yes (98 votes [86.73%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 86.73%

  2. No (15 votes [13.27%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 13.27%

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#1 Simon

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 09:41 AM

This is a question we’ll be debating at the upcoming Food Safety Live conference in September.  At FSL we’ll have panelists from IFS, FSSC and SQF as well as certification bodies, consultants and food safety managers.

It would be great to get some feedback from the IFSQN members who work with GFSI standards so that we can feed this information into the debate.

Please answer the poll and importantly comment on your choice of answer.

Thanks,
Simon


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#2 KrissyFSCM

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 01:27 PM

Definitely worth it.  Too many customers won't do business with us without out. 


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#3 Setanta

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 01:40 PM

I don't know if this is a yes/no answer for me.  (maybe I need more caffeine)

 

Yes, it is worth it in that many companies require GFSI certification and your business market greatly expands with having certification, BUT as an effective tool of ensuring food safety, I think that remains to be seen. I anticipate that we will have a BRC or SQF certified facility with a recall situation because we still have auditors who search for their 'pet peeves' and miss other items.  There is a tendency to get bogged down in the minutia of "this line of text isn't written correctly" and not see the cleanliness or lack thereof in a facility.

 

I spent the better part of an afternoon a couple of years back discussing bi-weekly vs. bimonthly terminology on a schedule of verifications. 


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#4 Simon

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 02:00 PM

Hi Setanta,

 

The idea of only offering YES or No answer is to force the unsure (with the help of caffeine if needs be) to fall of the fence one way or the other and then perhaps state why they voted that way (with reservations).

 

Regards,

Simon


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#5 Charles.C

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 03:13 PM

I typed the comments, voted, and the comments vanished. :(

 

Basically  a draw between Retention of Salary/Company Benefit (+2) and Product-FS/Knowledge (-2).  The “+”  had more Power. :smile:


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#6 Simon

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 08:02 PM

Basically  a draw between Retention of Salary/Company Benefit (+2) and Product-FS/Knowledge (-2).  The “+”  had more Power. :smile:

 

It's probably me Charles, but I don't understand. :dunno:


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#7 Myusername

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 07:57 PM

Simon I believe he means that money/ having a job was more important than the actual food safety/product benifits


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#8 Myusername

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 08:29 PM

I have to say "no" for the operation I work at, sorry to be the only guy to say no. I can see the value in gfsi for high risk product like meat, but we handle high volume, commodity, whole grains.

 

Boring, dry, low risk, minimal process grain.

 

GFSI in many, many ways is overkill, counter productive bureaucratic bull puckeys.

 

Have I learned a lot going after that GFSI certification? Yes.
Have I spent a lot of money going after that certification? Yes

Have we gained any customers? A few

Is my company GFSI certified? No

have companies not dealt with because of this? a few
Have we lost any customers not getting certified? No

was anybody willing to pay more because we were certified? No

If anybody who wants gfsi certification stopped doing business with us how much business would we lose? 2%, We can make it up else where.

 

Basic Haccp and prp's suffice.
 


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#9 Charles.C

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 10:43 PM

Hi myusername,

 

Thks for your clarification of my post. Pretty accurate.

Precis-ing - "Attention QA Mngr - The customer requires BRC. Obtain asap."

 

My auto-wiped text included a note that process was low risk which is probably not irrelevant.


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#10 AudreyB

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:13 PM

I think being a Yes or No will vary depending on your industry/product manufactured/size of company, etc. 

 

While I am a strong advocate for improvement and food safety, I think some of the new GFSI standards and regulations implementing them are too heavy-handed. Too much talk and not enough action. 

 

I do think some of the food safety plans and standards are quite reasonable and applicable to most industries - and I do think company producing food or anything going into or near food, should hold some type of certification - GFSI is not always the answer. 


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#11 gfdoucette07

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:01 PM

I too am on the fence, as I went through my first GFSI audit in 2007 we were told bynumerous people that o if you have a GFSI certificate it will be enough for us.  Instead every customer still required they come on site and do their own audit even though they got our certifciate and score.  So i just added 1 more audit to my schedule and have to pay for it.  However they will not do business with us without it.

 

G


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#12 sarbeva

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:20 PM

Obtaining GFSI certification ultimately did not improve our food safety system in any way.  Fundamentally, our system is the same as it was when we only held HACCP certification.  GFSI has only saddled us with more documentation and hoops to jump through to make auditors happy.


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#13 JPO

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 03:00 PM

Though I too run boring, dry, low risk products, I see the value in GFSI certification, kinda...

 

We sell lots of products to larger retailers as well as to people who manufacture for national and international restaurant chains and they are requiring GFSI certification to be part of their supply chain.  No cert, no sales.  

 

That being said, it's nitpicking B.S. at times.  Just read these forums and see experienced people in their fields trying to parse wacky clauses and write policy and procedure to cover their butts at audit time.  

 

Do I REALLY think my maple syrup, honey, and olive oil are going to be economically adulterated?  No, I don't.  I've worked with the suppliers for some time and have been to their production facilities.  I have letters and certificates and guarantees and all sorts of jazz, but NOW I have to do a "risk assessment" of all my ingredients and distribution items, rank them in terms of those I think are "high risk for food fraud", and have a validation plan to ensure the stuff I'm selling is actually the stuff I THINK I'm selling. 

 

Because of a change in a clause in a GFSI scheme.

 

I love that they are called "Schemes".  The verb definition of "scheme" fits from time to time: "make plans, especially in a devious way or with intent to do something illegal or wrong."

 

Thousands and thousands of dollars and thousands and thousands of man-hours to fit into a "plan" that it you aren't part of the "plan", you can't sell your goods to the majority of your market.  And you have to pay every year, and the rules change regularly.  

 

Sounds pretty much like a scheme to me.

 

 

 

I have to say "no" for the operation I work at, sorry to be the only guy to say no. I can see the value in gfsi for high risk product like meat, but we handle high volume, commodity, whole grains.

 

Boring, dry, low risk, minimal process grain.

 

GFSI in many, many ways is overkill, counter productive bureaucratic bull puckeys.

 

Have I learned a lot going after that GFSI certification? Yes.
Have I spent a lot of money going after that certification? Yes

Have we gained any customers? A few

Is my company GFSI certified? No

have companies not dealt with because of this? a few
Have we lost any customers not getting certified? No

was anybody willing to pay more because we were certified? No

If anybody who wants gfsi certification stopped doing business with us how much business would we lose? 2%, We can make it up else where.

 

Basic Haccp and prp's suffice.
 


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#14 Clemkonan

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 12:42 AM

Respectfully I would say you ask asking the wrong question, the question should be “Does GFSI certification add value and if not how can system be improved"

 

My view is that the GFSI system is not fully effective and does little to demonstrate that it is contributing to reducing risks as evidence by the incidence rate for recalls.

 

I would go further and say that there is tremendous potential for this system but we need to face up to the facts and address the following issues:

  • Certification bodies have a strong profit motive and auditors do not necessarily get the support they need, if a site complains about an audit. The process to search out and get an objective review is either nonexistent or flawed, consequently a lot of auditors are political auditors, they watch their "P's" and "Q’s" make the money and go home. You have to perform to get invited back.
     
  • Too many site are passing initial certification when they are not ready and again there may be a profit motive, if you are assigned multiple sites and you fail the first one on a stage 1, there is a good chance you will be pulled from the other sites without warning or explanation and there is no process I know of to investigate and correct this. This would be a good place for regulatory to play a role.
     
  • A significant number of sites could not care less about GFSI certification or food safety excellence, they simply want a “pass" so that they can sell their "wares".
     
  • Some sites will punish the auditor for a thorough audit, they will either tell you up front you are not invited back or they will go over your head and complain to the CB. Again this could be a positive interface point for regulatory. So you are not sending that auditor back, why and what does the objective evidence show?
     
  • Regulatory has opted out of the process, they are guilty by virtue of being absent from the process in a meaningful way. There was and is an excellent opportunity for them to focus their attention on the aspects of the system that the certification bodies and system owners are not well positioned to handle or that needs to be policed. For example ever notices that at audit time most documents are dated 2-3 month prior to the audit date; is it possible that the food safety / quality system goes into overdrive 3 -4 months before the audit but is  in sleep mode for the other 8-9 months.
     
  • Do we have companies out there that are passionate about GFSI and that have effective implementations?  Absolutely so much so that you cannot come around their site if you are patronizing and failing to challenge their system ... chocolates anyone.

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#15 Simon

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 06:32 AM

Thanks for your insightful posts Clemkonan. Yes the title could have been phrased a little better.  The poll is actually to gather some intelligence for the topic we will be discussing at Food Safety Live in September.  I am very pleased to get the opinion of a GFSI auditor (I presume). From somebody who has been on the other side of the table to an auditor many times I can understand all of your points. Commercial environment, competition, expanding standard scopes, more time required to be spent on shop floor…and nobody wants to pay for it.  If you do not mind I would like to feed your points into the FSL GFSI debate and put it to the presenters who will include standards owners and certification bodies.

 

Regards,

Simon


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#16 Charles.C

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 02:04 PM

In fact, just to nitpick, afaik, GFSI  "Certification" is non-existent.


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#17 Chris P

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 05:42 PM

I agree with some of the others who have posted. I see where GFSI could be an extremely powerful tool; however, the profit motive discussed earlier and the tenancy for auditors to focus on specific areas detracts from the overall value in my opinion. I should point out that we are a low risk nut process dealing with bulk quantities destined to further processing, so in reality our food safety techniques did not change much we just had to get better at documenting them.


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#18 Kelly S

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 12:57 AM

IMO it's only worth it if you want to do business with foreign companies or companies that want to export (which we do so I was a yes vote). Otherwise it may not be worth the hassle. Then again, if you're going to go through the hassle of an audit you may as well make it a globally recognised one.


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#19 Simon

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 06:36 PM

According to the participants in today's Food Safety Live conference.

 

Has achieving certification improved your business?

 

82% - Yes

2% - No

16% - About the same


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#20 Charles.C

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 05:22 AM

Hi Simon,

 

I seem to remember that phone-polling has historically led to some notable clangers. Reason, from memory, bias.

 

Does webinar-polling, per se,  have any particular validation (or otherwise) as yet ? Too new maybe.

 

http://www.theguardi...lling-pollsters

 

As a possible corollary to the thread's poll question i noticed this 2011 on-going GFSI comment -

 

Welcome to the latest update from the Global Food Safety Initiative. In April I wrote about our GFSI Stakeholder meeting which  took  place  in  February,  and  the results of our poll which showed that once again  auditor competence  had  figured  as the key issue for GFSI to focus on.

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#21 Simon

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 05:43 AM

Assuming you attended did you try voting twice?


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#22 pkfc

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 09:42 AM

The different GFSI recognized schemes are worth it, but I prefer the FSSC22000 scheme. It is independant, ISO based and the most suitable for ingredient producers.  


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#23 Simon

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 10:12 AM

The different GFSI recognized schemes are worth it, but I prefer the FSSC22000 scheme. It is independant, ISO based and the most suitable for ingredient producers.  

 

It's all about preference, but yes I take your point that due to the ISO structure may be easier to align the management system with quality, safety and environmental.  The main thing is working to one as all help deliver food safety and quality.

 

Regards,
Simon


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#24 Charles.C

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 05:07 AM

Hi pkfc,

 

OPRP :dalek:


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#25 Panos

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 10:14 PM

It seems to me that the majority of the people answering yes did not give any major benefit to being GFSI "certified". 

I read that it is a hassle, Introduces more paperwork, does not guarantee anything to be honest except the fact that you are able to document certain steps (which you could do under HACCP)

I also would like to point out that there are a lot of GFSI schemes out there that give their own format. I thought that the process was started so that companies should have a single (one plan) to adhere to. So which one is the better one? Is there a better one? Are all the same?

 

As I learn about this process and read some of the posts I remind myself the 2011 cantaloupe outbreak. The company had a GFSI "certification".....

 

But a great discussion overall. 


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