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PrimusGFS Certification

Fields, Packhouses, & Freshcut
Kristy-Ann Bura, Account Managerphone icon510.821.3172 Email
farm

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.

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Program Details
Eligibility

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.

Certification Criteria

To meet certification criteria, companies must:

  • Have each site audited. The PrimusGFS certification program is a site-specific certification process. While we understand that there can be differing types of relationships between farming, greenhouse, harvesting, facility operations, and that some companies will have multiple farms and facilities under their management, generally the PrimusGFS audit standard requires that each farm, harvest crew, and/or facility be audited separately. For circumstances when there may be multiple sites that the client wants to combine we will review those on a case by case basis to determine if combining different sites is possible.
  • Have at least one qualified person who manages the food safety program.
  • Prepare, and implement, a documented Food Safety Management System (FSMS)
  • Maintain all operational areas, tools and equipment, packaging, and products in accordance to the standard’s food safety requirements.
  • Achieve module scores of at least 85% and an overall score, after corrective actions, of 90%
  • Maintain relevant records for at least 1 year or for the duration of the shelf life of the products being produced if they are greater than 1 year. *Please note that government regulations, or other requirements, may necessitate that you keep documentation for longer periods than 1 year but for new certifications, the operation must have at least 3 months of documents to review.
  • Get recertified annually

Food Safety Booklet

Choosing the Right Food Safety Program: A Primer

Process

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:

  1. Apply for Certification

    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.

  2. Authorize a Proposal

    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.

  3. On-site 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.

  4. Audit Report 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.

  5. Corrective Action Submission

    If the initial scores do not meet 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. The auditor reviews and submits an audit report.

  6. Report Review and Certification Decision

    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.

  7. Maintaining Certification

    Annual audits are required to maintain certification.

Benefits

PrimusGFS certification has a variety of well-recognized benefits:

  • Satisfy the buying market that your production processes meet GFSI food safety requirements.
  • Provide a tool to measure the performance of your food safety program to help guide resource utilization and to assist with continuous improvement of the food safety program.
FAQs

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.

What is a Food Safety Management System (FSMS)?

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:

  • 1.01 Management System
  • 1.02 Control of Documents and Records
  • 1.03 Procedures and Corrective Actions
  • 1.04 Internal and external inspections
  • 1.05 Rejection and release of product
  • 1.06 Supplier Control
  • 1.07 Traceability and Recall
  • 1.08 Food Defense
How do I start the process for getting an audit?

You can email us at foodsafety@scsglobalservices.com or call 510-452-8000 and someone will assist you with getting started.

Complementary Services

SCS Global Services offers GFSI-level food safety certification including GLOBALG.A.P., PrimusGFS, BRC and SQF.. Additionally, contact us for expert guidance if your company is interested in establishing a comprehensive HACCP-based Food Safety Management Plan, as validation of an existing management plan.

Combine your food safety certifications with certified Organic, Sustainably Grown, Pesticide Residue Free and Fair Trade certification for operational and cost savings.

For immediate service:

Kristy-Ann Bura, Account Manager phone icon 510.821.3172 Email Kristy-Ann

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