Furthering food safety is a continuous challenge. Before several of today’s food safety mandates came about, a number of food safety crises pushed consumer Kathy Wybourn DNV headshotconfidence to an all-time low.

Enter the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). Since then, experts have been collaborating in Technical Working Groups to tackle food safety issues defined by GFSI stakeholders. Current activities within GFSI include the definition of food safety requirements along the entire supply chain covering a range of topics such as feed, distribution and packaging. The development of a capacity-building program for small and/or less developed businesses is facilitating their access to local markets. A focus on food safety auditors is bringing industry experts to common consensus on the skills, knowledge and attributes that a competent auditor should possess.

That’s why the newly created GFSI Retail & Wholesale Technical working group helps extend food safety requirements to retail and wholesale by drafting the contents to be included in the GFSI Benchmark criteria section for the “last link” to consumers worldwide.

The team, co-chaired by representatives from major retailers and supported by a board liaison for GFSI, held their first meeting in Bentonville, Ark. Creating definitions for retail and wholesale were one of the key outputs from this meeting.

• Retail: A business that offers food to the consumer that is typically consumed outside the premises defined by the business. Other activities may occur in retail, including catering and feed sales.

• Wholesale: A business that offers food to other businesses, such as but not limited to, retailers, catering, other wholesalers or related subordinated services. Other activities may occur in wholesale, including catering, feed sales and direct sales to consumers.

The remainder of the topics covered in this meeting will be included in the GFSI Guidance Document Part III (Scheme Scope and Key Elements). Future webinars and meetings are scheduled to complete the remaining tasks, including defining auditor competency, the audit duration requirements for the scope, defining key definitions for the GFSI Guidance Document glossary of terms and developing criteria for the use of single and multi-site certification based on sampling.