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The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) said yesterday that a recent study conducted by the University of Arkansas “shows that food manufacturers who achieve certification on one of the GFSI internationally recognized benchmarked schemes strengthen their food safety programs, resulting in safer food for consumers.”

According to the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), which manages GFSI, “the study evaluates the impact of a decision made by Walmart to require food suppliers to go beyond regulatory requirements by obtaining certification on one of the GFSI benchmarked schemes. Walmart commissioned the study to determine if the higher requirements are resulting in improved food safety.”

The announcement goes on to say that “suppliers were in agreement that the implementation of a GFSI benchmarked scheme resulted in a more thorough documented food safety management system, which is consistent with the requirement for food suppliers to implement preventative controls per the Food and Drug Administration’s new Food Safety Modernization Act.” In addition, “suppliers also perceived that adopting one of the GFSI benchmarked schemes was beneficial to improving the safety of their products.  Most companies agreed that changes to their food safety management system were required in order to meet certification requirements and these changes were perceived as improvements in the food safety of their products.”
KC's View:
For me, the key words here are “go beyond regulatory requirements.” When things go wrong, it always rings hollow to me when people say they did everything the law required them to do, as if that is a reasonable defense. But especially when it comes to issues like food safety, companies have to go farther, and have to understand that they have a fundamental responsibility for the safety of their shoppers ... which is really what food safety is all about.