The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has reissued its Guidance Document Sixth Edition1 under version 6.3 to include key requirements related to the storage and distribution sector. As a result, food safety management schemes that cover the storage and distribution scope can now come forward to GFSI for recognition through its benchmarking process. If the scheme’s requirements are considered to be equivalent to those specified within the GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition version 6.3, the scheme will achieve formal recognition by GFSI2.

The GFSI Storage and Distribution Technical Working Group began its work in December 2011 to define the key requirements for Storage and Distribution, for incorporation into "Part III – Scheme Scope and Key Elements" of the GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition. A global stakeholder consultation was held in January of this year, providing the Working Groups with additional feedback on these key requirements before submission to the GFSI Board for approval.

The Working Group was mandated to draft benchmarking criteria that shall be in place in a storage and distribution scheme’s standard covering:

  • Food safety management systems
  • Good distribution practices
  • HACCP?based requirements

The Working Group also defined the auditor competency requirements for their scope, and submitted scope definitions for inclusion in the GFSI Guidance Document "Part IV ? Glossary of Terms." The Working Group was also asked to consider whether multi?site certification based on sampling is relevant to their scope, and worked with the GFSI Guidance Document Working Group to finalize these criteria for inclusion in the GFSI Guidance Document, "Part III – Scheme Scope and Key Elements."

Storage and Distribution is the fourth scope added to the GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition since January 2011, after the incorporation of benchmarking criteria for Feed Production in May 2012 and Packaging Production and Animal Conversion in August 2011. Five further scopes will be included in the GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition in the future in order to provide a seamless and harmonized approach to food safety management from farm to fork. Future GFSI Technical Working Groups will continue developing the remaining scopes in accordance with the mandate given by the GFSI Board of Directors.

The Working Group co?chairs, Jorge Hernandez, senior vice president, Food Safety and Quality, US Foods, and Rena Pierami, division vice president, Silliker, commented, "Over the past months we have been approached by food storage, distribution and logistics companies seeking certification against a GFSI recognized scheme for their scope of activity. We look forward to seeing a number of food safety management schemes covering the scope of food storage, distribution and logistics come forward for benchmarking against the criteria that our Working Group developed, so that there is a solution for such companies and also for buying companies requesting certification against GFSI-certified schemes of their supply chain."

Payton Pruett, vice president, Corporate Food Technology, The Kroger Co. and Cenk Gurol, chief SCM officer, AEON CO., LTD, the GFSI Board liaisons to the Working Group, said, “The GFSI Board prioritized this sector as storage and distribution activities are an integral part of the food supply chain, and a service that is relied on for activities taking place from farm to fork. Food and feed need to be stored and distributed in a manner that helps assure food safety across the entire supply chain. We look forward to seeing the first schemes come forward for benchmarking against this scope of recognition. We would like to thank the industry experts that contributed to this effort and gave of their time at meetings and over calls to finalize this important piece of work.”

1 GFSI Guidance Document Version 6.3 as well as a tracked changes version in Word are available on by clicking on the "Guidance Document" icon on the homepage.

2 Any interested parties should contact for a GFSI Benchmarking Application Form.


Current Scopes
The Guidance Document Sixth Edition will be enhanced to ultimately cover the whole of the food and feed supply chain and associated services. The current version of the GFSI Guidance Document covers the following scopes of recognition:

  • A.I. Farming of Animals
  • A.II. Farming of Fish
  • B.I. Farming of Plants
  • B.II. Farming of Grains and Pulses
  • C. Animal Conversion (included in August 2011 under version 6.1)
  • D. Pre Processing Handling of Plant Products
  • E.I. Processing of Animal Perishable Products
  • E.II. Processing of Plant Perishable Products
  • E.III. Processing of Animal and Plant Perishable Products (Mixed Products)
  • E.IV. Processing of Ambient Stable Products
  • F. Production of Feed (included in May 2012 under version 6.2)
  • J. Storage and Distribution (Perishable & Ambient Food and Feed) (included in October 2013 under version 6.3)
  • L. Production of (Bio) Chemicals
  • M. Production of Food Packaging (included in August 2011 under version 6.1)

Future Scopes
Key elements will be drafted for the following scopes of recognition over the course of 2013 and 2014:

  • G. Catering
  • H. Retail / Wholesale (Working Group launched in June 2013)
  • I. Provision of Food Safety Services
  • K. Manufacture of Food Processing Equipment
  • N. Food Broker / Agents (Working Group launched in March 2013)