The International Accreditation Forum (IAF), Paris, and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a Silver Spring, Md.-based pillar of The Consumer Goods Forum, announced a new partnership as part of an ongoing strategy to strengthen collaboration for consumers worldwide. 

Through this agreement, IAF and GFSI commit to developing and maintaining a close cooperation to ensure harmonization of accreditation practices across the GFSI-benchmarked food safety certification programs, while cooperating in the continuous improvement of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements and the benchmarking process. This will contribute to the GFSI objective of reducing food safety risks by delivering equivalence and convergence between effective food safety management systems, thereby enhancing food safety, ensuring consumer protection and improving cost efficiency throughout the food supply chain.

The agreement confirms that GFSI and its benchmarked Certification Program Owners (CPOs) will make effective use of the IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA). GFSI-recognized CPOs will require certification bodies (CBs) operating in a GFSI benchmarked food safety certification program to be accredited by an accreditation body that is a signatory to the IAF MLA.

“I am convinced that this partnership will further strengthen the current framework of checks and balances," says Marie-Claude Quentin, GFSI senior representative. “We have been collaborating with IAF for many years, and this partnership formally recognizes IAF as a partner of choice to manage and deliver effective and harmonized accreditation certification programs.”

“I am delighted to enter into partnership with GFSI, as it recognizes the value of the IAF MLA in delivering confidence in the marketplace. We look forward to working closely with GFSI to deliver effective food safety management systems, thereby improving supply chain and consumer confidence,” adds Xiao Jianhua, IAF chair.