PARIS, 4th November 2021 – The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a Coalition of Action of The Consumer Goods Forum, has today launched the first-ever set of Benchmarking Requirements for food safety auditor Professional Recognition Bodies. By raising the profile of the profession of auditing, and focusing entry requirements on competence, the aim is to attract and retain talents into this vital profession.
Over the years, the industry has faced mounting difficulties in recruiting and retaining auditors, with more people leaving the profession than new recruits joining it. This is putting a strain on the Certification Bodies’ ability to cater to the increasing demand in food safety audits – and presents a severe threat to the whole food safety ecosystem. The situation has worsened due to increasingly complex and duplicated requirements applying to new and existing auditors, including the increasing GFSI Benchmarking Requirements for Certification Programme Owners on auditors.
To combat this, GFSI has now developed a new recognition programme for Professional Recognition Bodies in the sector, setting them 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.
By harmonising standards across the industry, GFSI hopes to safeguard a vital role within the industry – elevating the accessibility and perception of food safety auditing to be comparable with other well-respected auditing industries such as finance.
Erica Sheward, Director of GFSI, said: “We’re confident that the launch of these benchmarking requirements will help to protect the vital role of food auditors, and to increase the take-up of this profession. 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.
“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.”
Andrew Baines, President and CEO of Exemplar Global, said: “Exemplar Global has been certifying auditors for over 30 years including many food safety auditors around the world who audit GFSI benchmarked schemes. Exemplar Global is pleased to confirm that it is our intention to seek GFSI approval as a PRB (Professional Recognition Body) and to assist GFSI as they work through public consultations, a pilot program and transitioning arrangements.”
This work forms part of the larger GFSI Race to the Top (RTTT) framework which works to improve trust, transparency and confidence in GFSI-recognised certification and audit outcomes.
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