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Bringing Food Safety Issues to the Table: National Restaurant Association Partners with the Global Food Safety Initiative

New York, May 01, 2008

In an effort to increase consumer confidence in food safety, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) today announced their partnership to strengthen food safety systems and increase the use of common food safety standards worldwide.

This partnership unites the restaurant industry and food retailers to bolster the goal of convergence between food safety systems. This will be accomplished through the maintenance of a benchmarking process for food safety management schemes, as well as the increased acceptance of GFSI-recognized standards.

With this alliance comes an enhanced international stakeholder platform for networking, which will encourage knowledge exchange and sharing of best food safety practices and information.

This partnership highlights the growing international significance of GFSI, whose food safety standards are accepted by seven major international retailers, including American retail giant Wal-Mart. In a similar agreement signed in February 2008, Wal-Mart pledged to use food safety and quality management systems certified against any of GFSI’s four food safety schemes, including the Safe Quality Food (SQF) program. [see related article]

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) adds value to the SQF program by accrediting 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.

In addition, ANSI offers a Conference for Food Protection (CFP) accreditation program to accredit organizations involved in the certification of food protection managers. The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), a division of NRA, has been an ANSI-accredited personnel certification program since 2003; the Foundation’s ServSafe program has awarded more than 3 million ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certifications to date.

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.

For more information on the NRA/GFSI partnership, read the NRA press release.

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