GFSI, new Canadian policy on private certification schemes

Can help food facilities meet or exceed regulatory food safety requirements


The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) applauds the new Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) policy on private certification schemes used by food facilities that was announced this week in Ottawa.

The CFIA acknowledges that private certification schemes, including those recognised by GFSI, can help food facilities meet or exceed regulatory food safety requirements. While the CFIA will remain responsible for verifying compliance of food facilities with the food safety requirements of relevant Canadian food legislation, the new policy enables the CFIA to use the results of private certification to inform its risk-based inspection activities.

"Companies that incorporate food safety management systems into their operations to meet customer requests under GFSI will be well-placed to meet similar requirements under Canadian food safety reforms," said GFSI Board Vice Chair Mike Robach of Cargill, Inc. “Science guides policymakers and industry to the same objective endpoints, leading to greater efficiency, collaboration and, more importantly, 'Safe Food for Consumers, Everywhere' throughout Canada."

Today, in Canada, over 2,400 food facilities are certified to GFSI-recognised global standards by standards-setting organisations or “schemes” recognised by GFSI. The recognised schemes include: BRC Global, CanadaGAP, FSSC 22000, GlobalGAP, Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), Global Red Meat Standard, IFS, Safe Quality Food Institute (SQF) and Primus GFS.

With food safety reforms occurring in Canada, the United States and elsewhere, the number of facilities to GFSI-recognised schemes is growing. Today, GFSI’s global partners audit and certify more than 100,000 food operations and facilities in more than 160 countries annually. And the number of countries recognising private certification is growing in Europe, North America and other countries as well.

Accredited third-party private certification is an important part of the global food safety supply-chain system and it is increasingly used by the industry to achieve safe food for consumers everywhere, which is the GFSI vision," added Robach. "GFSI has based its Guidance Document on the Principles of Codex Alimentarius, the international food safety standard developed by FAO and WHO. As a GFSI Board member, I am pleased to see that the Canadian government has affirmed the role of accredited third-party certification in food safety which is the foundation of the GFSI model.”  (Source: