GFSI Certification Requirements | Global Food Safety Initiative

Reduce stress and save time and money. Our Expert Food Safety Consultants can help with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plans and Preventive Control Plans (PCP) for your GFSI Certification to help you cover your bases on BRC, FSSC 2200, IFS, and SQF.

GFSI audit schemes are designed to verify that food safety and quality programs are being effectively implemented and maintained in order to ensure the protection of consumers, businesses, and suppliers. Learn more about how they keep you safe, resulting benefits, and what is needed to get GFSI certified.

GFSI Certification Requirements

GFSI stands for Global Food Safety Initiative. It is an industry-driven initiative. It offers guidance about food safety management systems. Management systems are very important for food safety along the supply chain. GFSI ensures that food facilities process safe food for consumers. It generally reviews three things, including policies and procedures of suppliers, observing the processes of suppliers, and reviewing their records. Major retailers and manufacturers demand their suppliers comply with GFSI Audit Schemes to ensure safe and quality food.

GFSI-approved food safety standards are SQF, BRC, IFS, FSSC, GLOBALG.A.P., BAP, PrimusGFS, and CanadaGAP. These global food safety initiative (GFSI) standards are applicable for food, packaging materials, storage, packaging, and distribution for producers, manufacturers, and distributors.

What is the cost of becoming GFSI Certified? (Cost, Advantages, Disadvantages)

When considering the cost of becoming GFSI certified, it’s important to remember that the investment will be well worth it. Becoming GFSI certified not only helps to ensure compliance with industry standards and reduce risk exposure associated with food safety, but it also provides added credibility and recognition from customers, suppliers, and peers. The benefits of certification continue beyond initial fees associated with the certification process; they last throughout the life of your business.

To calculate your return on investment (ROI) from GFSI certification, start by factoring in the costs of becoming certified including fees for certification and annual audit fees. The costs can range from thousands to tens of thousands to become certified with a reputable GFSI-recognized food safety program. To understand how quickly you’ll collect returns on your investment, consider the amounts companies spend on recalls and preventing future invasions of pathogens while being proactive in their food safety efforts.

Once you have determined the necessary audits for GFSI certification, it is important to analyze the total costs associated with becoming certified. These costs should include the cost of an auditing body, fees for maintaining your certification, and any fees for failed audits or re-audits that may be needed. Additionally, you should factor in training expenses required to bring staff up to speed on best practices. Taking these steps will help you to prepare a comprehensive budget and understand exactly how much it will cost to become GFSI certified.

Understand the GFSI Certification Auditing Requirements

An essential component of GFSI certification is completing the auditing process. This includes initial audits, surveillance audits, or special audits if required by your GFSI-recognized scheme. A successful audit requires that the supplier meet all of the GFSI requirements outlined in their chosen scheme’s standard. The cost associated with an audit will vary depending on the auditor and audit type chosen by the supplier. Additionally, audit costs may be recouped through a fee paid to the certification body for maintaining and renewing certification over time.

What is a GFSI Audit Scheme?

A GFSI audit scheme is a certification program designed to verify that food safety and quality programs meet the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarked standards. It provides an independent, third-party assessment of your food safety system in order to ensure compliance with industry and government requirements. GFSI audit schemes have been developed to evaluate standards related to food production, storage, handling and distribution, laboratory procedures, as well as staff competencies and practices.

What are the benefits of participating in an GFSI Audit Scheme?

Participating in a GFSI audit scheme brings numerous benefits, such as improved compliance with food safety regulations and standards, enhanced reputation among customers and suppliers and improved brand protection. By meeting rigorous requirements set by the Global Food Safety Initiative, companies can also demonstrate their commitment to providing safe, quality products to their customers. Additionally, participating in an audit scheme can help reduce costs associated with the implementation of food safety systems and potential noncompliance issues.

Being GFSI certified keeps your business safe?

GFSI audit schemes are designed to help ensure that your business is operating in a safe and secure way. The audit will provide assurance that you have established a food safety system and are adhering to it, so problems can be identified quickly. A GFSI audit scheme can also certify any food safety programs you have in place, such as HACCP, SQF or BRC certification. This will help to protect your consumers and consumers of the products you supply from potential health risks, while also reducing liability risk for your business.

What are the steps to achieving GFSI certification?

  1. Conducting a GAP Analysis
  2. Developing a food management system (HACCP Plan)
  3. Implementing GFSI standards and requirements
  4. Preparing for the GFSI audit

The competitive edge of GFSI certification

1. Market access
GFSI certification opens doors to new markets and customers, particularly in regions where retailers and buyers prioritize certified suppliers. With GFSI certification, businesses can access a wider range of distribution channels, secure lucrative contracts, and expand their customer base.
2. Brand reputation and consumer trust
GFSI certification is a testament to a company’s commitment to food safety and quality. It enhances brand reputation and instills confidence in consumers, who are increasingly demanding safe and high-quality food products. GFSI certification serves as a powerful marketing tool, differentiating businesses from their competitors and driving customer loyalty and acquisition.
3. Supplier partnerships
GFSI certification encourages collaboration and partnership among stakeholders in the food supply chain. Certified businesses are preferred partners for retailers, distributors, and other suppliers, who value the assurance of a robust food safety management system. This collaboration strengthens the entire supply chain, ensuring the consistent delivery of safe and high-quality food products.
4. Risk mitigation
By implementing GFSI standards and continuously monitoring and improving their food safety management systems, businesses can proactively identify and mitigate potential risks. This reduces the likelihood of foodborne illnesses, product recalls, and other costly incidents that can damage a company’s reputation and financial stability.
5. Operational efficiency
Implementing GFSI standards involves streamlining processes, reducing waste, and optimizing resource utilization. This drives operational efficiency, improves productivity, and reduces costs. By adhering to GFSI standards, businesses can create leaner, more sustainable operations that deliver value to both the company and its customers.

QSS can assist with the requirements of GFSI Certification

We can help you with HACCP & PCP food safety plans which are requirements for becoming GFSI Certified.


Brand Reputation Compliance (BRC) is an International Food Safety Management Systems standard. It is one of the certification schemes recognized by GFSI. BRC Global Standard lets your brand earn worldwide recognition for food safety, quality, and responsibility. As a good packager, food distributor, and food processor, renewing your BRC Global Standards Certification annually is important.


International Featured Standard (IFS) is a GFSI benchmarked standard to audit food manufacturers on food safety, and product and quality processes. It applies to firms engaged in manufacturing, processing, or handling food or food ingredients. IFS includes requirements for quality and food safety management systems, senior management responsibility, and resource management.

FSSC 22000

Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000 is a food safety certification system recognized by GFSI for food manufacturers. Based on the ISO 22000, ISO/TS 22002-1, and ISO/TS 22002-4 standards, it applies to firms in the food supply chain that manufacture or process perishable vegetable products, animal products, and other food ingredients such as vitamins, additives, and bio-cultures.

Packaging Standards

Food processors and retailers often require food-contact packaging manufacturers for obtaining certification for schemes benchmarked by GFSI. Packaging standards include BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials, FSSC 22000 for Packaging, IFS PACsecure, and SQF for Packaging.


Safe Quality Food (SQF) is credible food safety and quality program, recognized by GFSI. The SQF standard ensures quality safety processes are fully met in the food chain right from suppliers to food industry processors and from distributors to consumers. Benefits of obtaining SQF Certification include increased consumer confidence in your products, greater opportunities with new markets and clients, and an enhanced brand and corporate image.

Global Gap

Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) is a certification system for agriculture. It specifies procedures that need to be executed for creating food for consumers or further processing that is safe and beneficial, using sustainable methods. It can potentially lower the risk of harmful contamination of your produce.


Our GFSI experts will help you adhere to GFSI standards, audit food safety systems, and get them certified.

Highest Standards

We help your supplier network to meet the highest standards in food safety and comply with regulations.

Enhance Global Market

We will help you obtain a valid certificate against GFSI-recognized standards to enhance your access to global markets.

Multi-lingual Network

We have a multilingual network of specialists in GFSI, BRC Canada, BRC USA, SQF to share their expertise.

Best Practices

We’ll ensure your food safety solutions and systems are in line with the best practice so that quality and safety become synonymous.

Ensure Staff is GFSI Trained

Our authorities will provide training on-site and online to ensure your personnel/staff are GFSI trained.

BRC Certification

We’ll help acquire BRC Certification: the BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution and the BRC/IOP Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials.


FSSC 22000 Certification

Get this certification to minimize risks, increase brand production, give assurances that food is prepared, produced, and handled as per the most recognized standards.

SQF Certification

At Quality Smart Solutions, we assist with HACCP requirements and enhance your food safety and management systems required for SQF certification.


IFS Certification

Get IFS certified – IFS Logistics (standard to audit logistics activities for food and non-food products) for the storage and distribution industry and IFS PACsecure for the good packaging industry.

Packaging Standards

Meet all required packaging standards. We have expertise in HACCP, Management, audits, Facility conditions, Employee hygiene and training, Control of incoming products, documentation.


Global Gap Certification

Our certified professionals will help you by implementing the best practices for reducing microbial contamination and making sure that the food that you sell will not cause harm to them. 

What are the benefits of BRC or SQF certification? How do I decide?

Having BRC or SQF certification can help to increase your visibility in the global market by demonstrating that you are producing and handling safe food products or practices. It can also be used as a benchmark for others to measure quality and safety assurance standards against, offering customers peace of mind that the products they purchase have been independently verified as safe for production and consumption. Additionally, certification may also lead to cost savings on insurance premiums and other such savings in the long run.

When deciding on whether to pursue BRC or SQF certification, you should consider a few factors, including the type of food product and process being conducted, the size of the operation, and what other challenges the facility may face. If you’re short on resources, both options provide cost efficiency. However, if your main concern is safety and higher standards for quality control, BRC may be the better choice since it offers more comprehensive criteria and require a higher level of documentation than SQF.

What is the process for BRC Vs SQF certification?

Our experienced personnel will provide proper guidance on selecting the best GFSI food safety standard for your business. This will enhance your marketability and grow bottom-line profits while reducing your risk. Our professionals will lay everything out for you upfront and are dedicated to providing hands-on assistance throughout every step of GFSI benchmarking certification preparation.

Our HACCP & PCP Plan Assistance will help you get GFSI Certified Faster

The process for obtaining certification for either of these standards is relatively similar. It begins with a gap analysis and completion of the prerequisite programs which may include good manufacturing practices, hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP), internal auditing, quality management systems, and environmental monitoring. Once these are completed, you must hire an external auditor to come in and thoroughly review your facility before you can be certified. The entire process can take anywhere from 3 months to a year depending on the complexity of the operation.

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