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Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)

Compare Food Safety Certification Scheme Features

Selling products in global markets is no more challenging than in the food sector. Many major US and European-based food retailers are mandating that their suppliers comply with food safety and auditing systems recognized by the independent Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), such as SQF, BRC and GLOBALG.A.P. Retailers use GFSI benchmarked schemes to reduce duplication in supply chain auditing.  SCS is accredited under ISO/IEC Guide 65 to conduct SQF, BRC and GLOBALG.A.P. audits.

Choosing and upgrading to the right GFSI scheme is an important decision. Each of the major schemes is based on a foundation of management commitment, risk assessment and prevention, and continuous improvement. Certain standards are preferred by various types of operations due to differences in specific requirements, auditing protocols and scoring systems. Some types of business are required to use, or are better suited for, one scheme over another.

Overview of Key GFSI Scheme Features

The following table provides an overview of how three major GFSI-benchmarked certification schemes compare, to help you decide which best applies to your needs.


British Retail Consortium

The British Retail Consortium (BRC)


Safe Quality Food (SQF)

Global Gap


Descriptions BRC targets retailers, brand owners and manufacturing facilities doing business in or with the European Union. The BRC standard covers a comprehensive scope of product safety areas as well as the legal due-diligence responsibilities of both the supplier and the retailer. SQF certification demonstrates that a supplier's food safety and quality management system complies with international and domestic food safety regulations, assuring that food has been produced, processed, prepared and handled according to the highest possible standards. GLOBALG.A.P. is a business-to-business (B2B) certification, focused on pre-farm gate activities. The GLOBALG.A.P. scheme sets minimum requirements for environmental protection, worker health and safety, and food safety procedures.
Auditor Accreditation Mandatory training course. Minimum experience needed; approved by SQFI. Online training mandatory.
HACCP Requirement In accordance with global codes; focus on HACCP and risk management In accordance with global codes. Not mandatory; risk assessment needed.
Audit Process and Days Desktop review; followed by site audit Extensive desktop document review; all non-conformances found must be addressed and closed prior to site audit 4-6 hours per location
Period to address non-conformities 28 calendar days 30 calendar days 28 calendar days
Certification Requirements Fundamental requirements within the standards must be met. Questions are predefined as being of major or minor importance. Fundamental requirements within the standards must be met. Auditor decides what is of major and minor importance. Fundamental requirements within the standards must be met. Questions are predefined as being of major or minor importance.
Senior Management Involvement Senior management must attend the opening meeting. Senior management must attend the opening meeting. Designated persons should attend the opening meeting.
Scoring/Grading Grades A, B, C (Pass). A & B (annual reaudit), C (semi-annual reaudit) Grades A, B, C (Pass). A & B (requires annual reaudit), C (requires semi-annual reaudit) 95%+ minors, 100% majors

Guidance, Training and Pre-Assessments

We help you choose and upgrade to the right GFSI scheme with guidance, training, and pre-assessments. Contact our food safety education department to learn how to develop, implement and manage any one of the BRC, SQF Version 7 and GLOBALG.A.P. schemes. Our training will help you upgrade from your current GAP or GMP food safety program. Our experienced auditors will conduct pre-assessments to help you achieve the best possible score by promptly clarifying any non-conformities.