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Consumer Goods Council launches food-safety initiative

| Supplier news

The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) has launched an initiative aimed at helping suppliers develop effective food-safety management systems that meet retailers’ requirements.

The executive head: food safety initiative at the CGCSA, Francina Makhoane, says the global food-safety initiative (GFSI) global markets programme is a capacity-building programme specifically designed for small and/or less developed businesses.

“The programme has been adopted by the CGCSA in collaboration with some major South African retailers to accommodate their suppliers,” she said. Makhoane said suppliers must engage with their retail clients before implementing the programme to ensure that they keep to their clients’ business rules.

“The intention of the initiative is to help suppliers in South Africa who do not have a developed and auditable food-safety management system in place to gradually establish such a system through a continuous improvement process.

Suppliers should aim to reach the level of certification against any of the GFSI-recognised schemes,” she said. The initiative, the first phase of which is already underway, is also expected to help achieve standardisation within the food-retail sector in South Africa.

A major benefit of participating in this initiative – other than opening opportunities for new business – is that once a supplier has passed an assessment against the GFSI checklist or attained certification against any of the GFSI-recognised schemes, their assessment report or certification will be recognised by participating retailers, thus reducing the number of annual food-safety audits that suppliers have to pay for.

Makhoane said participation is voluntary based on the willingness or the desire to access retail shelves and it is encouraging that some major retailers have embraced this initiative as part of their capacity-building programme to widen their supplier base.

The CGCSA hopes that more retailers will adopt the programme for their suppliers. Only accredited certification bodies will be eligible to conduct an assessment against the GFSI Global Markets Programme, says Makhoane.

“Suppliers can undergo an initial self-assessment process to determine the status of their food-safety management systems. If the GFSI Global Markets Programme assessment report points to a need for further coaching and mentoring, any auditing body, which might not be an accredited certification body, but has undergone training on the CGCSA-GFSI Global Markets Programme, has the important task of providing mentoring services to suppliers that need support. This is where the capacity-building aspect of the programme comes in,” she says.

According to Makhoane, the CGCSA and participating retailers will now be focussing on the development of a database that will host all related information, including suppliers, assessment providers, training providers, mentors and participating retailers..

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