PARIS, 30th January 2012 – The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), managed by The Consumer Goods Forum, announced today that a recent study conducted by the University of Arkansas shows that food manufacturers who achieve certification on one of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) internationally recognized benchmarked schemes strengthen their food safety programs resulting in safer food for consumers. 

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 study looks at information collected from 174 Walmart suppliers representing 406 manufacturing facilities. In the blind survey led by the University of Arkansas, food manufacturers were asked specific questions about their opinions on the effectiveness of the GFSI certification process as well as basic demographic information about their company, the types of products they produce, and why they chose to pursue certification against one of the GFSI benchmarked schemes. 
Statistical analysis of the data revealed suppliers felt achieving certification against one of the GFSI benchmarked schemes resulted in several benefits for their company. Three of the most 
significant findings were: 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Suppliers were also mostly in agreement that in order to achieve certification, they were required to conduct additional employee training in order to comply with the requirements of GFSI benchmarked schemes. 
The study entitled “Identification of Leading Indicators, Benefits and Costs of Implementing Food Safety Standards Acceptable Under the Global Food Safety Initiative” has been submitted for publication in the International Association for Food Protection’s Journal of Food Protection. 
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