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GFSI Global Markets Capacity Building Programme

Overview

Background
For small and/or less developed businesses that because of their size, lack of technical expertise, economic resources or the nature of their work encounter difficulties in implementing HACCP in their food business, market opportunities often exist within formal supply chains where entry requirements are high. These businesses do not necessarily have access to the expertise, technical and financial resources to meet these requirements in terms of food safety. In 2008, GFSI stakeholders identified the need for technical assistance and support for small and/or less developed businesses in the development of their food safety management systems. Small and/or less developed businesses (SLDBs) refers to the status of the business food safety management systems, thereby particularly addressing businesses who encounter difficulties in implementing HACCP within their business, rather than to the number of staff or volume of production. The GFSI Board approved the formation of a Technical Working Group to manage this project. This group has developed voluntary food safety requirements in the form of a checklist and a protocol to drive the continuous improvement process in food safety management systems. The programmes objective is to facilitate market access locally, create mutual acceptance along the supply chain and provide a framework for mentoring these businesses.

Overview
Its tiered approach to certification allows for individuals responsible for food safety within their companies to put into place a systematic action plan that can be implemented over a realistic period of time. Furthermore, it will reassure their customers that they are developing effective food safety programmes that will help reduce or mitigate food safety risks. The programme has been developed with as its scope local sourcing for local selling, however the possibility of export opportunities arising from the programme is one of the long-term objectives of the initiative.

Content
The programme is comprised of: Basic and Intermediate Level Checklists and an Assessment Summary (detailing the requirements and the complete report) Basic and Intermediate Level Assessor Guideline Protocol and Flow Chart to guide users through the steps of the programme

Steps to Certification
The tiered approach to certification is as follows: Phase 1: A self-assessment is carried out by the business itself against Basic and/or Intermediate level checklist to allow the business to decide its entry level to the programme. Subject to the outcome of the self-assessment, the business should pass to either phase 2 (Basic Level Assessment), phase 3 (Intermediate Level Assessment), or phase 4 (certification against a GFSI recognised scheme). Phase 2: An unaccredited assessment of a business is carried out against the Basic Level Checklist. The technical requirements at this level are comprised of 30% of the key elements of the GFSI Guidance Document, including Food Safety Systems, Good Manufacturing/Agricultural Practices and Control of Food Hazards. Phase 3: An unaccredited assessment of a business is carried out against Intermediate Level Checklist, which include the Basic Level Requirements, a further 40% of the GFSI Guidance Document elements, and the Codex Alimentarius Standard CAC/RCP 1-1969 Rev 4-2003. Both steps are voluntary, meaning that the business can decide at which entry level they will start: Basic or Intermediate. Phase 4: The official accredited certification against one of the GFSI recognized schemes. A protocol has been developed to guide businesses through the programme. It provides guidance for implementation of the Basic and Intermediate Level food safety requirements to attain the goal of reaching full certification against a GFSI recognised scheme. On a practical level, it outlines such details as how to download the documents, which documents are to be used at which stage of the process, and the steps which involve certification bodies or assessment service providers. The ultimate aim of the Global Markets Capacity Building Programme is that adopting the protocol will reduce the burden of obtaining immediate certification to seemingly complex, established schemes by providing a pathway that businesses can progress along in a systematic way.