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The GFSI Global Market Program: Roadmap to Safe Food & Market Access for SME’s

As per the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) dominate business with an average of 70% to 95% of all firms in different countries.

SME’s (Small and medium-sized enterprises) typically account for 60% to 80 % of total employment, 40% to 60% contribution to GDP and 10% to 40% export earnings across different countries.

Considering such indicators, micro, small & medium-sized enterprises are the engine of any country’s economy and thus very crucial for creating competitiveness and market access.

Global Market access is still a big challenge specifically for Food SME’s sector considering food safety, food fraud and stringent regulatory requirements. As a sustainable solution, The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) introduced a step-by-step development model for SME’s under the name of Global Market Program as a roadmap to GFSI benchmarked food safety accredited certification and global market access.

This sustainable program primarily launched by GFSI in 2008 and now getting popularity especially in countries with less developed economies e.g. African, Latin American and Asian countries.

This capability building model developed primarily considering the Codex Alimentarius Principle of Food Hygiene International Code of Practice and based on fundamental requirements extracted from the GFSI Guidance Document.

The Global Market Program toolkit comprised of three development stages leading to accredited GFSI-recognized certification: Self-assessment, Basic Level and Intermediate Level.

This program so far developed to guide small and/ or less developed businesses involved in primary production and manufacturing finally providing them with an unaccredited entry points to the markets

GFSI Development Stages
GFSI Development Stages

As a development model, this program is very sustainable and easy to implement for achieving any of the GFSI benchmarked certification within a period of 1 to 3 Years.

Right after self-assessment and the organization’s food safety team can identify either to go for Basic Level or Intermediate level.

From the below diagram, any organization can have an insight on how to complete the development process for achieving GFSI-recognized accredited certification from a foundation level.

GFSI-Recognized Accredited Certification Process
GFSI-Recognized Accredited Certification Process


The GFSI Global Market Program provides benefits to all the stakeholders in the food supply chain. For primary producer and manufacturer, this tool provides a sustainable pathway to achieve GFSI-recognized certification, access to new markets and enable local, regional, and international trade. From Government and regulator’s prospect, this program leads toward developing a food safety culture and creates opportunities in aligning public-private partnerships.

From retailers, Brand owners and Food Service prospect this model proves an effective shared risk management tool, improve market linkages, and enable sustainable buying relationships.

Written By Sagar Mahmood Khan (Head of QA Compliance Center MCC Global Quality Assurance Management, METRO AG, Germany)



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