ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Wal-Mart Adopts Global Food Safety Initiative Standards

New York, Feb 06, 2008

In a landmark step taken earlier this week, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. became the first U.S. grocery chain to adopt internationally recognized Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards for its private-label products.

The formal announcement comes on the heels of a 2007 meeting of CIES - The Food Business Forum, where Wal-Mart and six other leading retailers agreed to rely upon food safety and quality management systems that are certified against any of the four GFSI food safety schemes, including the Safe Quality Food (SQF) program. [see related article]

Under the terms of the agreement, the producers of Wal-Mart and Sam's Club private-label foods must be audited and able to demonstrate full certification by July 2009.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredits the certification bodies that audit suppliers to ensure their conformance to SQF standards. Since 2004, ANSI has partnered with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) to provide a neutral, third-party verification for its SQF certification program.

ANSI accreditation ensures that auditing organizations – or certification bodies – are legal entities, independent and free of conflicts of interest, employ qualified people, and have proper oversight. Accreditation provides certification programs with credibility and international recognition, and helps to promote the cross-border trade of goods and services. Reliance upon ANSI accreditation programs ensures best industry practices, reduces the need for government agencies to individually monitor credentialing organizations, and strengthens consumer confidence in products and services.

“Consumers want to have confidence in the quality and safety of the food they eat,” said Reinaldo Figueiredo, ANSI program director of product certification accreditation. “Food suppliers – and the regulatory bodies that monitor them – demand an assurance that stringent food safety standards are being followed, regardless of where in the world the food is coming from. ANSI applauds Wal-Mart for their demonstrated commitment to consumer safety and is proud to add value to this process.”

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