GFSI: What the animal feed industry needs to know

With its roots in the human food arena, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has now become relevant for the animal feed industry, as well.


With its roots in the human food arena, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has now become relevant for the animal feed industry, as well. NSF International, a nonprofit that started doing GFSI work in 2008, presented implications of GFSI for the animal feed industry January 27, at the 2016 IPPE in Atlanta. 

Robert Prevendar, global managing director of supply chain food safety for NSF International, said it's very possible that if feed manufacturers haven't yet been asked about this initiative, they likely will be in the next couple of years. GFSI's vision is: Once certified, accepted everywhere. The organization itself is not a certification body, but rather it benchmarks existing food safety standards against food safety criteria. GFSI-benchmarked certifications applicable to the animal feed industry include Safe Quality Food Institute (SQF), Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000) and PAS 222.

The benefits of GFSI-benchmarked certification

  • Meeting customer needs
  • Reducing the need for multiple audits
  • Demonstrating strong food safety processes 
  • Possibly attracting new business

How to get started with GFSI-benchmarked certification

An overview of the certification process includes:

  • Choosing a standard
  • Choosing a verification body
  • Applying for verification with a certification body
  • Identifying training needs and receiving training
  • Self-assessment of compliance with standard
  • The optional step of using a consultant to prepare for the audit
  • The optional step of pre-assessment (an analysis of gaps)
  • Desk audit
  • Certification audit
  • Addressing corrective actions within the facility 
  • Certification body verification and approval of corrective actions 
  • Certification body issues certificate

Prevendar stressed the importance of giving yourself enough time to complete the audit, recommending allowing a minimum of 45 days from audit to date of certification issue.

The difference between GFSI and FSMA

What good is a GFSI-benchmarked certification for U.S.-based companies in light of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act law (FSMA)? Prevendar pointed out that there is about 80 percent to 85 percent overlap between FSMA and GFSI. However, he said, they are not the same, so it's important to know the differences. Although the documentation is largely the same, he said the main difference is in the use of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and preventive controls. 

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