Choosing to start with a global market entry level standard is a wise chose for companies who may feel less mature. The aim should be to eventually move to certification against a GFSI recognized food safety standard. However, this route lets you start at your own pace at a level that fits with your current operations. Working toward an entry level assessment truly improves food safety and culture, as well as the understanding of the two, within your organisation. It lets you demonstrate control, be confident that what is needed is in place, and that it has been verified by an independent 3rd party. The following outlines the recommended path toward your entry level assessment:
- Choose your entry level scheme
Review the schemes available to see which one best suits your needs. The schemes available are: BRCGS START!, IFS Global Markets Food, FSSC Development Markets, SQF Fundamental Programmes. All entry level schemes require a documented system, but one standard may better fit how you currently operate, for example. DNV auditors can help explain the different approaches to help you pick the one best-fitting your operations.
Understand what you need to do in order to be ready for a 3rd party entry level scheme assessment. Assessing what you do now and how you do it will help drive improvements and make your food system more robust.
- Get training
To get ready for the entry level scheme assessment you may need to build additional internal competence. DNV offers public and in-house training courses on the entry level schemes as well as internal auditor courses. Training on HACCP, allergen management, and so on, is also available. We can help you close any knowledge gaps.
Use checklists available from the scheme owner to assess your level of compliance. These checklists can also be used later to prepare for internal audits and measure your readiness for the entry level assessment.
You need to ensure that you have the necessary systems and documentation in place and that these are compliant with entry level scheme’s requirements. To ensure progress, it is important to conduct internal audits along the way.
This step is optional, but it is often recommended to have an in-depth look to uncover any big gaps. This can be done by auditors from DNV. It is not advice or consultancy, but more a pre-audit to uncover any weaknesses in your system. Regardless of who does it, this is time well spent as it can identify areas that could lead to non-conformities, i.e. non-compliance with the entry level scheme requirements. Closing these before the third-party assessment will make for a more efficient process.
- Assessment audit
Ahead of the audit, you will receive an agenda so you can prepare and plan for staff to be present. The auditor reviews documentation, records, the factory and training conducted. Discussions and interviews will be held with staff at all levels of your organisation. At the end of the audit, you will be presented with the list of findings.
- Assessment report
The assessment report includes all details of the audit, including the findings and non-conformities to be closed. It also provides valuable insight for the continued improvement of your food safety system.
- Close findings
You will be asked to review the findings, perform a root cause analysis, immediate corrections and work on a corrective action plan to prevent recurrences. The collated information must be sent to the auditor who will assess the actions taken. Thereafter it is it is passed to DNV’s independent technical reviewer. Being independent means that the technical reviewer was not part of the actual audit.
- Conformity statement awarded
Upon the approval, the Statement of Conformity will be issued. You can now share your compliance with Yum! and other customers.
- Move to certification
To maintain the validity of your Statement of Conformity, you are subject to annual audits. Moreover, you should evaluate whether and when to move from the entry level assessments to certification against a GFSI recognized standard. This will give you a higher degree of control. When systems are in place and a certain level of maturity achieved, it could be opportune to make the move.