One of the main reasons the food industry is seeking Global Food Safety (GFSI)Initiative certifications is their customers, or potential customers, aredemanding it. Thus, food companies should investigate which GFSI benchmarkedstandard(s) their customers require before developing a food safety managementsystem that is not recognized by their current or potential customers.The options of globalfood safety certifications tailored for food distributors is limited today.

(Crandall,Mauromoustakos, O’Bryan,Thompson, Yiannas, Bridges and Francois,2017).  Bogadi, Banovi? and Babi? (2016) also note that despitethe similarities among them, they have some differences that can make itdifficult to know which certification scheme is appropriate to implement for alarge national food distribution company Furthermore,company-specific challenges and business needs can have a big impact on theidentification and implementation of a GFSI standard. In fact, choosing which GFSI benchmarked standard an enterprise should implementcan be an overwhelming decision.That being the case, the author hasconsidered a Consultative Report for the food distributor for whom he works.Such enterprise has24,000 employees, over 70 distribution centers across the U.

S., and multiple foodserviceand grocery offices. Recently the company decided to embark in GFSIcertifications in 2018.Just in thefoodservice division, the business serves 36,000 restaurant locations acrossthe U.S through 49 strategically located distribution centers; and exports to52 countries around the globe.  Theauthor considers his employer to be an industry leader. Hence, his companylooks forward to soon engaging in the continuous improvement culture througheither SQF, BRC, IFS or the like.

This Consultative Report category would offer the author the opportunityto address the dilemma his company is facing in deciding the right fit for aGFSI standard. He will need to work closely with a faculty advisor and company management.Also, he will eventually have to perform the consultation for the company andwrite recommendations. The goal is for this work to equip similar fooddistributors with the knowledge and methods to ascertain a scheme that has theoverall best fit for their organizations.

 Maybe the selection and implementation process of such standard(s) maybe less daunting.  Whatto Consider when Choosing a Recognized GFSI SchemeLiterature ReviewAs previously, statedthere appeared to to be a lack of scholarly articles on the GFSI topic. Itappears instead that there are more trade publications, as the subject ofglobal food safety certifications is relatively an emerging food safetyindustry topic.According to Crandall etal. (2017), there are about half a dozen options when considering aninternationally accepted food safety certification for wholesale grocers and distributors.Additionally,company-specific challenges and business needs can have a big impact on the identificationand implementation of a GFSI standard.

In fact, choosing which GFSI benchmarkedstandard an enterprise should implement can be an intimidating decision(Almanza & Nesmith, 2004).Let’s take an example of a U.S.

based food distributor with thousands of employees, dozensof foodservice and grocery warehouses. Once such company has decided to embarkin GFSI certifications, what is next? And, most importantly, what to considerwhen choosing a recognized GFSI management scheme?  CompanyCharacteristics and Customer Requirement Kassa, Silverman, and Baroudi(2010) suggest that, when choosing a food safety scheme for a company, it isvery important to make sure that the scheme fits the organization perfectly. Crandall,Van Loo, O’Bryan, Mauromoustakos, Yiannas,Dyenson, and Berdnik. (2012) conclude that it is imperative toselect the scheme that best suits the enterprise by knowing exactly the requirementsof the rules and the customers. That is a vital reason, especially when asignificant number of European agri-food distribution companies demand thattheir suppliers meet some type of standard. So, if the customer demands acertain standard, reasonably, a necessary step to maintain the businessrelationship in the medium and long term is to certify by that scheme (Almanza& Nesmith, 2004).

 When deciding which standard to be certi?edby, a company should ask its customer(s) if they prefer a particular scheme.Jacxsens, Boxstael, Nanyunja, Jordaan, Luning and Uyttendaele.(2015) show that the organization can also visit with fellow processors thatare GFSI certi?ed and discuss with them what scheme they are certi?ed by and whythey chose that scheme.

 Nationality of your foreign clients and the diffusion of the norm The origin of clients is a very important aspect. Depending on their countries of origin or nations where they operate, customers can demand one or multiple standards. BRC began by addressing the needs of British distributors (members of the British Retail Consortium) servicing worldwide retailers and manufacturers of own-brand products, especially in the United States and South America. About five years ago, there were 13,000 BRC-certified suppliers in more than 100 countries.

In the case of IFS (International Food Standard), the number of certified companies was 17,000 worldwide in 2012. That year it appeared to be the most globally widespread, having been translated into 20 languages. On the other hand, BRC was available in only 10 the same year (Crandall et al., 2012).

 Bogadi et al. (2016) point out that the IFS standard is widely found in Europe, with a strong presence in the countries of origin (Germany, France and Italy). It is also the most prevalent standard in Spain and has a presence in the American continent and Asia: a total of 96 countries.

Currently, the IFS standard has seen a strong expansion in the number of certification audits. Natu’oil Services (2016) invites us to believe that IFS could become one of the most requested quality and food safety standards in the future—something quite important to evaluate when deciding on one rule or another. Nature of standards Although the goals of the different GFSI schemes are the same, they use different means to achieve certification. The basis of each audit is very similar, but the criteria they follow and their evaluation levels are different. For IFS, there is a rating and scoring system that BRC does not have.

The differences between them lie in cultural issues. For example, according to Kassa, Silverman and Baroudi. (2010), BRC makes it possible to certify a supplier with significant dissatisfaction, provided that such supplier produces objective evidence that it has remedied such disagreement within 28 days.

In contrast, IFS does not allow the certification if there is any type of nonconformity (Crandall et al., 2017). A simple suggestion would be to visit thewebsites of potential GFSI schemes a company is considering. Crandall et al.(2012) suggest that information a firm should look for on a scheme’s websiteincludes a copy of the code for the type of GFSI audit, guidance document(s)explaining what is required to comply with the code, a listing of approvedcerti?cation bodies for the scheme, etc. Potentialcerti?cation bodiesCompanies should visitthe websites of potential certi?cation bodies (CB).

That can help in con?rmingthat the certi?cation body is approved to conduct audits for their type ofoperation. Learn what services the certi?cation body offers, like consulting,pre-audits and audits (Crandall et al., 2012).Most certi?cation bodiesprovide consulting in numerous areas, aside from preparing for a GFSI audit.

They will also conduct pre-audits in which they visit and conduct an unof?cialpre-audit and provide audit results. Crandall et al. (2017) found that thisallows companies to learn what specific de?ciencies are so they can correctthem before an of?cial audit.

Jacxsen et al. (2015) state that combining apre-audit with consulting services not only permits the identification ofspecific deficiencies, but it offers opportunities for advice on how to correctthem as well. Of course, the certi?cation bodies do conduct of?cial audits forthe scheme they represent.

If possible, it isbeneficial to select a certi?cation body with which a firm already has arelationship (Crandall et al., 2017)— perhaps an organization that hasconducted third-party Good Manufacturing or Food Safety Audits for the company.CBs tend to be very busy, so it is recommended to schedule certification auditswell in advance. Likewise, Jacxsenset al. (2015) found that it is important to strategize when to schedule the?rst of?cial audit because, most likely, it will determine the time each yearthat the firm will have the annual GFSI audit. Generally, a yearly GFSI auditis within a 60-day window of 30 days before to 30 days after the original auditdate (Crandall et al., 2017). Therefore, it is wise to discuss this with the CBbefore scheduling the ?rst of?cial certification audit.

Forecasts of future of each standard Another practical view, as found in Crandall et al. (2012), is that the most successful standard can be one that is required by most companies. Jacxsens et al. (2015) also mention that, as more food companies are likely to want to market their products in Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands than in the United Kingdom, the standard that would eventually be more successful could be IFS. That may also be a good reason to choose it.Having saidthat, regarding the food distributor example – just in its foodservicedivision— that company serves 36,000 restaurant locations across the U.

S.through 49 strategically located distribution centers and exports to 52countries around the globe.  Theyconsider themselves to be an industry leader. Hence, the company looks forwardto engaging in a continuous improvement culture through either SQF, BRC, IFS orthe like.This literature review could, in the presentdearth of scholarly literature, help food companies face the dilemma ofdeciding the right fit for a GFSI standard. This work may equip similar fooddistributors with the knowledge and methods to ascertain a scheme that has theoverall best fit for their organizations.

 Maybe the selection and implementation process of such standard(s) maybe less daunting.   Milestone #3A new important reasonwhy the food industry is seekingGlobal Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certifications is their customers, orpotential customers, are demanding it. Hence, food companies find out they needto investigate which GFSI benchmarked standard(s) their current and potentialcustomer recognize and require.The number of internationallyaccepted food safety certifications for food distributors is limited. Differencesbetween standards and company-specific challenges can complicate selecting anappropriate scheme, particularly for large companies. In fact, choosing which GFSI benchmarked standard an enterprise should implementcan be a daunting experience.

Consequently, the authorselected a Consultative report type project for my research proposal.  The project is comprised of two sections: 1.     Selection of the best Food Safetycertification audit standard for, McLane (food distributor). 2.     Outline of the process to prepare for suchcertification audit standard.  The author plans togather the research data as follows:  a)     Reviewcompany goals as well as customer needs. b)     Evaluatethree leading Global Food Safety Initiative standards for storage anddistribution: a.

       British Retail Consortiumb.      International Featured Standardsc.       Safe Quality FoodsCurrently,there seems to be a lack of scholarly articles on this topic.

It appears thatthere are more trade publications, as the subject of global food safetycertifications is relatively an emerging food safety industry topic. Therefore,the scholarly articles the author selected through specialized databases suchas Food Science and Technology Abstracts (FSTA) and PudMed (Medline) will be from the Journal of FoodProtection and from the Journal of Environmental Health. Likewise, the articlesfrom trade publication will come mainly from Food Engineering Magazine and FoodLogistics Magazine, originated from the same databases.c)     Arrangeto survey similar certified logistics companies via email: a.

       Sysco Foods—implemented BRCb.      Gordon Foodservice—supports SQF c.       US Foods—utilizes IFSd.

      There may be others such as ReinhartFoods, H-E-B and Walmart  Analysisof categorical variables and relationships between categorical variables willbe conducted using an Implementation Survey for similar companies that havegone through this process. Two of the survey questions w1 canask respondents to rate their current level of implementation difficulty oftheir chosen certification scheme; and the other can ask them to rate theirimplementation satisfaction. Difficulty ratings can be simplified into threecategories: Difficult, So-So, and Easy. Ratings of implementation satisfactioncan be categorized as Dissatisfied, Indifferent and Satisfied.  d)     Data from these two questions can beorganized into a two-way table with Implementation Difficulty as the rowvariable and Implementation Satisfaction as the column variable. The marginaltotals (bottom row and right-most column) can be added to the two-way table;results from rating difficulty and satisfaction. The author then canpotentially look at the distribution of each variable separately (marginaldistribution), or perhaps compute conditional distribution of ImplementationSatisfaction for each Difficulty category.

The next important step would be to select a certificationscheme and certification body. Our current third-party auditingcompany is Mérieux NutriSciences. They have the infrastructure to become ourcertification body to cover any of the three GFSI standards already mentioned.

We will hire Mérieux as aconsultant to strategically help McLane conduct a gap analysis for one distributioncenter from each business unit:a)     Grocerydivision—McLane Southwestb)     Foodservicedivisiona.       100 series, our original foodservicebusiness —McLane Arlingtonb.      600 series, our 5-year oldfoodservice business acquisition—McLane Fort Worth Subsequently, the gap analysis, which would consist of a lineby line comparison of three distinct, existing, written food safety protocols,will shed light for a necessary company-wide policy consolidation andstandardization. In other words, each business unit (Grocery and the twoFoodservice divisions, namely 100 series and 600 series) has its own version ofQA Manual and QA forms/logs. Finally, the company Food Safety will Team trainand rollout the schedule of the chosen Global Food Safety Initiative scheme in2018 and 2019 for a total of 70 distribution centers.

 w1Itmay be useful to include an example of the type of questions you plan to ask.

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