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Debra Smith
Debra Smith
Global Hygiene Specialist

GFSI Benchmarking Requirements

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) brings together key actors of the food industry to collaboratively drive continuous improvement in food safety management systems around the world.

Developing the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements for Food Industry Service Providers

One of the great things about working for an organisation like Vikan is that I get to support the food industry and advance food safety through many different avenues. Most recently I have been involved the GFSI’s Services Provision Technical Working Group, to develop requirements for the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements, often seen as a global gold standard for food safety.

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) brings together key actors of the food industry to collaboratively drive continuous improvement in food safety management systems around the world. With a vision of Safe food for consumers everywhere, food industry leaders created GFSI in 2000 to find collaborative solutions to collective concerns, notably to reduce food safety risks, audit duplication and costs while building trust throughout the supply chain.

The GFSI community works on a volunteer basis and is composed of the world's leading food safety experts from retail, manufacturing and food service companies, as well as international organisations, governments, academia and service providers to the global food industry. GFSI is powered by The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global industry network working to support Better Lives Through Better Business.


Last year the opportunity arose to join the GFSI’s Services Provision Technical Working Group and develop related benchmark requirements for inclusion in the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements. As someone who has worked on all sides with service providers (in food manufacturing, in food hygiene research, as a qualified FSSC22000 auditor, and as a hygiene specialist working for a service provider), I know that this area is often overlooked when it comes to standards. Consequently, I was delighted to be one of those chosen, from the 70 qualified stakeholder applications submitted from all over the world, to join the group.

GFSI TWGs are multi-stakeholder groups with a wide geographical representation and which are composed of food safety experts. TWGs provide technical expertise and advice to the GFSI Board who is responsible for the group’s strategy and final decisions.

Group photo

Consequently, over the last 12 months members of the GFSI Services Provision TWG, made up of representatives from ANSI National Accreditation Board, BSI, Ecolab, Dole, CampdenBRI, Rentokil-Initial, Eurofins, Control Union, HACCP-International, Cr Orlix, Bureau Veritas, Daymon Worldwide, and Vikan, have been working collaboratively to work on GFSI Scope I - Provision of food safety services. Our remit is to,

  • provide detailed definitions of the scopes and services covered by it;
  • produce a review of existing certifications applicable to those services;
  • set Benchmarking Requirements for the key parameters for those specified services; and
  • review of the Benchmarking Requirements glossary in light of the new scope.

So far, we have met in France and China (thankfully before the current coronavirus outbreak!) and are making steady progress.

Our next get together will be on 24th and 25th February in Seattle, USA. These meetings precede the start of the 2020 GFSI Conference, also in Seattle. 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of GFSI and this year’s conference theme is ‘One Connected World. One Safe Food Supply’. For further information please visit