PrimusGFS, a GFSI benchmarked standard, is recognized by buyers throughout the Western Hemisphere. Ever changing food safety demands from industry, regulatory agencies, and consumers require you to prove that your farm, harvest, and/or facility food safety program is implemented, effective and meets globally recognized food safety standards. Certification to PrimusGFS v2.1-2 provides that proof and continued assurance that is essential to your customers.
The exact type of operation that can be certified to PrimusGFS v2.1-2 are based on the Global Food Safety Initiatives (GFSI) categories. Click here for information on GFSI categories.
The PrimusGFS general regulations define the certification process. For more information please review the general regulations guidance here.
To meet certification criteria, companies must:
Choosing the Right Food Safety Program: A Primer
While the specifics of certification vary depending on whether the company seeking certification is a farm, greenhouse, harvest company, or facility operation the certification process generally involves the following steps:
GFSI-recognized food safety audit schemes have broad acceptance among industry buyers and retailers around the world. Be sure to check with your customers to determine which GFSI audits they accept or prefer, including PrimusGFS.
SCS prepares a proposal for your approval with suggested scope of work, timeline, and quote. If the proposal meets your needs, you sign a Work Order. We then contact you to schedule and audit.
SCS conducts an annual on-site audit. The audit includes an opening meeting, physical inspection of the site, review of records, interview with personnel, and an exit interview. We prepare a Report of Findings after the audit is completed.
After the audit is conducted onsite the auditor has 15 days, after the audit, to complete the audit report in the PrimusGFS online report system. Once completed the client will receive email notification that the report is completed.
To achieve certification each module of the audit needs to achieve a score of at least 85% and a total, combined, score of at least 90%. If the initial scores do not meet these minimum requirements then the client must submit corrective actions with the goal to get the final score, and each module score, to the minimum requirements. The client has 30 days, from the day of the audit, to submit corrective action evidence. Once submitted the evidence will be reviewed by the auditor who will determine if the evidence is sufficient to be approved. Evidence needs to include a cause analysis for why the non-conformance occurred and a corrective action that clearly shows the observation was corrected. Clear evidence can include photos, training records, updated control documents such as policies, procedures, logs, etc, or other evidence that clearly demonstrates that the original observation was fixed.
Once the auditor has reviewed the corrective action responses the audit report and corrective actions, are reviewed by a separate reviewer, that is not the auditor, to assure the audit process was followed as required. If the minimum scores are met, and there are no other issues that would prevent certification, the audit is certified. Once certification has been completed the client will receive an email notification, with the certificate attached as a PDF, that certification has been granted. If certification is not granted, then the client will receive an email notification that the audit was not certified.
Annual audits are required to maintain certification.
PrimusGFS certification has a variety of well-recognized benefits:
How much does an audit cost?
Audit costs vary depending on the type of site being audited and how large and complex the operation is. This is why it is very important to fill out the application as accurately as possible so that we can provide a quote that accurately reflects what the cost of the audit will be.
How long does an audit take?
The PrimusGFS regulations provide guidance for how long an audit should take. Clearly, there will be times when an audit will be shorter, or longer, than the proposed times depending on the size and complexity of the site being audited.Click here to see a snap-shot of the audit time duration guidance.
The food safety management system is Module 1 of the PrimusGFS audit which is the documentation portion of your food safety program. Certified producers must document, and implement, a Food Safety Management System prior to becoming certified. The system describes the specific food safety management practices that must be documented and implemented in order to meet the requirements of the 8 subcategories of Module 1.
The 8 subcategories include:
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