Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)


The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is an independent non-profit foundation of leading food safety experts and related interests from retail, manufacturing and food service industries worldwide. Co-ordinated by the Consumer Goods Forum, the foundation was formed in May 2000. It responded to heightened demand for safe food products, increasing food safety problems, lack of agreement on food safety standards, and the increasing burden of more frequent food safety audits borne by suppliers and processors.  

GFSI Objectives


Global Food Safety Initiative  

  • Promote agreement on universal food safety standards.
  • Lower costs and improve efficiency through GFSI recognized standards and certifications.
  • Allow information sharing and act as a networking platform.

Harmonization and Benchmarking Process

This process compares food safety management standards to a guidance document developed by GFSI. If a standard is equivalent to the guidance document, it is benchmarked by GFSI.


Benchmarked and Recognized Standards  

Manufacturing Schemes

Primary Production (pre-Farm Gate) Scheme

Primary Production and Manufacturing Scheme

Acceptance of Benchmarked Standards

To reduce the duplication of audits and differing audit standards, eight major retailers (Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Tesco, ICA, Metro, Migros, Ahold and Delhaize) agreed in 2007 to accept any of the GFSI benchmarked standards. This allowed their suppliers to choose and use just one set of standards. The approach is reflected in the GFSI slogan: "Once certified, accepted everywhere."  

Selecting a Standard

Selecting the right standard should be a priority. Consider the following:

  • ease of use and suitability of the standard based on your existing food safety and quality systems, and on your company's culture
  • specific requirements and structure of the standard
  • how easy it is to understand and meet the requirements
  • audit rules, costs, frequency and grading system
  • auditor availability
  • how standards support customer preferences


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