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Episode 9: Environmental Monitoring in GFSI Programs

Episode 9: Environmental Monitoring in GFSI Programs

Environmental Monitoring Programs

In this episode we are going to review the environmental monitoring program requirements in GFSI programs. GFSI is the Global Food Safety Initiative, an international organization that publishes requirements for food safety programs to adopt when those safety programs want to be benchmarked to GFSI.

Yellow petri dish on a laboratory table.

Each of the major GFSI programs, SQF, BRC, FSSC 22000 and PrimusGFS programs all require fully implemented environmental monitoring programs to be in place as part of the safety and quality programs, including risk assessments justifying the approach taken in the facility.

Even if you do not currently run a GFSI program at your facility, or if you are considering what it means to have a high level safety and quality program that adheres to strictest standards for environmental monitoring in your facility, hopefully you will still find this presentation to be valuable.

Certification audits for all GFSI schemes generally require 90 days of records for the environmental monitoring program prior to the first audit, and continuous upkeep for existing programs undergoing recertification.

For programs undergoing an audit for the first time, this means planning well ahead for scheduling and performing environmental monitoring activities.

If a facility has designated the frequency of environmental monitoring action to be annually, at least one swab event must be performed during the time period under audit, which means after the program was implemented, or after your start up date. For recertification audits, there will need to be at least one monitoring event since the previous audit. The frequency of annual is entirely based on the dates your current GFSI certification is valid and is likely not based on a single calendar year.

Regardless of the frequency of the environmental monitoring events, the auditor will be looking for completed scheduling, recordkeeping or logging of the events, test results, and trending of results at the time of audits.

Failure to address results indicating pathogens or unacceptable results, failure to show trending or scheduling in any GFSI audit is grounds for a major violation and in some instances automatic failure of the audit, so it is very important that implementation of the environmental program is fully completed in preparation for a GFSI audit. Watch this episode for further detail regarding the expectations for environmental monitoring with each of the GFSI schemes.

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