food safety certifications

The myriad of food safety certifications out there can be confusing and a bit overwhelming. Adroit can help you to make sense out of it all to ensure you pursue the correct certification for your industry and that you successfully complete the journey.

Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)

Independent of government, a global food safety standard (or scheme) emerged called the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). GFSI is a non-profit making foundation sponsored by Belgium that benchmarks existing food standards against food safety criteria, and also looks to develop mechanisms to exchange information in the supply chain, to raise consumer awareness, and to review existing good retail practices. GFSI does not provide food safety certifications but instead recognizes a number of certification programs that meet the GFSI requirements.

These certification programs (or schemes) include:

  • SQF
  • FSSC 22000
  • IFS International Featured Standards
  • primusGFS

Safe Quality Food (SQF)

The Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program is a rigorous and credible food safety and quality program that is recognized by retailers, brand owners, and food service providers worldwide. Recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), the SQF family of food safety and quality codes are designed to meet industry, customer, and regulatory requirements for all sectors of the food supply chain – from the farm all the way to the retail stores.

British Retail Consortium (BRC)

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is a trade association for the UK food retail industry created in 1992. The BRC has published standards for best practices for the food and manufacturing industries for two decades, and also publishes the On-Pack recycling standards for the UK. The BRC Global Food standard has been in existence since 1998, and in 2000 was the first food safety standard to be recognized by the GFSI organization, which means the standard meets their “benchmark” criteria for acceptance. The standard is designed as a “total quality management” program and includes both food safety requirements and quality requirements which food manufacturers must meet in order to be certified.

FSSC 22000

FSSC 22000 is a Food Safety Management Certification Scheme, managed by Foundation FSSC 22000 and governed by an independent Board of representatives from several sectors in the food industry. FSSC 22000 is used to control food safety risks. Developed through extensive and open consultation with many global stakeholders, the Scheme uses international and independent standards such as ISO 22000, ISO 9001, ISO/TS 22003, and technical specifications for sector-specific Pre-Requisite Programs (PRPs), such as ISO/TS 22002-1. Besides these standards, the Scheme contains so-called FSSC Additional Requirements, which can be found in the FSSC 22000 Scheme documents. Through meeting the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Benchmarking Requirements, the FSSC 22000 Scheme has been given full recognition since 2010. GFSI recognition demonstrates that the Scheme meets the highest standards globally, leading to international food industry acceptance. Furthermore, the Scheme is widely accepted by Accreditation Bodies worldwide and supported by essential stakeholders like FoodDrinkEurope (FDE) and the Consumer Brands Association (CBA).

ISO 28000

ISO 28000 was developed to establish standards and procedures dealing with supply chain security.  It focuses on security management policies, security risk assessments and planning implementation and operation, checking and corrective action, and continuous improvement.


A Good Manufacturing Practices certification scheme provides independent verification and certification that basic manufacturing practices necessary for an effective Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point food safety program are being followed.   The HACCP is a subset of an overall food safety program. A GMP certification can be an important step towards a broader food safety program certification.

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