GFSI have published an updated position statement.

The aim of the statement is to reinforce their position on what solutions they find acceptable during the pandemic.

GFSI only approve of the following solutions:

  1. 6-month certificate extension
  2. Blended audits (part remote and part on-site, plus the Agents & Brokers fully remote)

The have reiterated that fully remote audits (other than the Agents & Brokers) are not approved by GFSI. This means any BRCGS (or any other GFSI recognised certificate) audit completed fully remotely, is not approved. What this means in practice, comes down really to whether your company and your customer are happy with that.

If you would like to read the full position statement: GFSI COVID-19 Position, 16 October 2020

GFSI have also published an audio statement that you can listen to. It’s only 7 minutes so it’s worth a listen: GFSI extends measures for food businesses facing ongoing certificaiton disruption

We have covered the different audit options provided by BRCGS in the following articles:

If you have any questions or learnings that you’d like to share with your fellow techies, please just pop them in the comments box below.

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Have your say…

7 thoughts on “GFSI update their position on audits during COVID-19

  1. Very disappointed with this statement regarding remote audits. There are many companies globally that are not able to have any type of on-site audits due to restrictions on the movement of people in and out of countries. Our supply base is from the Philippines where there are no certification bodies with auditors based on the islands and the auditors travel from Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and other countries. Currently there are restrictions in place preventing the travel to the Philippines with no indication on when these restrictions will be lifted (the same as a lot of other countries). Technology is an essential part of the remote audit with auditors viewing remotely the factory in operation and touring the site as well as viewing documents. GFSI need to be working to find a solution to approving remote auditing not just dismissing them. A 6 month extension to the certificate simply has not been sufficient. As travel restrictions hopefully get lifted, there is going to be enormous pressure on auditors to carryout site audits, with the huge amount of companies needing audits either from those whose 12 months certificate is due to expire or from sites whose 6 month extension certificate is about to expire. How can this be managed??

  2. I believe that eventually GFSI will cave as pressure is brought to bear. They’re still taking in comment and considering changing their position.

  3. Kassy,

    Not much gets me going but this is a rediculuous position. Which planet do they live on? Give them my name to chat to directly if they want to have some examples of Audit Prepardeness in challenging environments. if they want CV19 please visit. We are accepting 48 Hours notice with a questionaire upfront. If we think there is a risk then they will be told.. This applies to all suppliers. I think the supermarkets would want that surity as well as the protection of our own staff and families. Some 10-15% of our staff need additional measures to help them protect themselves or members of their families. Remote works, just get the technology that helps said audits.

  4. I think in light of the world Covid pandemic which is likely to be with us for months, if not years yet until a vaccine is found, audit bodies need to review their stance and methods of approach. It is irresponsible to expect companies to host site visits if they are trying to protect their employees and business continuity as they have to put every measure possible in place to limit the risk of exposure. Therefore if they wish companies not to drop these accreditations in their hundreds they need to effect and approve alternative methods encompassing modern technology, after all it is in the food companies own interests to produce legal and safe food otherwise the consequences could be considerable. I agree with both the previous comments posted.

  5. 1 question that needs to be asked of all auditing bodies – Are they insured to cover our loss of business and other associated costs, should an auditor bring Covid onto one of our sites?

  6. May be GFSI is right in its position but as such there can be such kind of pandemic and medical emergencies occuring in the future with a particular region or country.
    In that case there should be defined alternative method or arragement to keep the GFSI recognition for the site audited online. May be by more robust type of risk analysis structure to be in place in such kind of situation.

    There is another level if there is use of bio wepons with sabotaging and the particular region can be affected. This is wider topic but should be viewed in terms of food fraud and food defence.

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