The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a Coalition of Action of The Consumer Goods Forum, plans to streamline requirements for food safety auditors in an effort to increase recruitment. Although auditors are vital to global food safety, the number of auditors in the profession is decreasing. Coupled with a rising demand for food safety audits, the industry is in need of a solution.  

In light of the staffing issue, GFSI is rethinking its qualification system for food safety auditors by establishing Professional Recognition Bodies (PRBs) who are responsible for ensuring common competencies throughout GFSI-recognized certification programs. The change will assure Certification Program Owners (CPOs) and Certification Bodies (CBs) that auditors registered to a GFSI-recognized PRB are competent, and will eliminate the need for redundant auditor checks.

Exemplar Global, an applicant to become a GFSI-recognized PRB, will trial the new benchmarking requirements with volunteer CPOs such as the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) and others. The new model will be initiated at the GFSI Conference in Barcelona, taking place from March 29–31, 2022. As part of the pilot program, Exemplar Global CEO Andrew Baines expressed his commitment to ensuring that Food Safety Auditors are competent, well-skilled professionals.

GFSI hopes that upgrading the current system for qualifying Food Safety Auditors will increase the attainability and desirability of the role, which is not only essential to the food auditing industry, but also to the health of the global food supply chain. The new benchmarking requirements are part of GFSI’s Race to the Top (RTTT) Framework, which is an effort to improve trust, transparency, and confidence in GFSI-affiliated food safety audits.