Global Food Safety Initiative - Guidance Document


The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Guidance Document sets requirements for food processing under a food safety management system. It also contains information about certification and accreditation activities, revision process and reporting. It is not a standard and GFSI is not involved with accreditation and certification activities.

Content and Requirements

  • Part I: This describes requirements for food safety management schemes and gives details on the benchmarking application process. It provides information for scheme owners on how to benchmark their operating standards.
  • Part II: This sets the criteria food safety management standards must meet to conform with GFSI requirements. Producers, processors and manufacturers using benchmarked standards must meet criteria that include:
    • Food Safety Management System (FSMS) – Benchmarked standards require suppliers to have an FSMS. Requirements include:
    • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Distribution Practices (GDP) – Benchmarked standards require suppliers to develop and implement practices that ensure food is manufactured in a safe environment. GMP, GAP and GDP (as applicable) shall include control over the following items:
      • facility environment
      • local environment
      • facility layout and product flow
      • fabrication
      • equipment
      • maintenance
      • staff facilities
      • contamination risk from physical and chemical products
      • segregation and cross-contamination
      • stock management (inventory control and rotation)
      • housekeeping, cleaning and hygiene
      • water quality management
      • waste management
      • pest control
      • veterinary medicine
      • pesticide, herbicide and fungicide control
      • transportation
      • personnel practices
      • training
      Annex I of the GFSI Guidance Document lists some ways a supplier could develop these practices.
    • HACCP – Benchmarked standards require suppliers to develop and implement a HACCP system. The HACCP system in place shall be based on or be equivalent to the Codex Alimentarius Commission HACCP principles or those of the United States Department of Agriculture National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. The HACCP system shall comply with applicable legal requirements, demonstrate management commitment and be supported by the established FSMS.
  • Part III: Describes the requirements for the delivery of food certification systems, applicable to any food safety management standard.


For more information, email the Food Safety and Inspection Branch or call 204-795-8418 in Winnipeg.