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Why the Benchmarking of the CGC’s Food Safety Program is Good for us and our Clients


The Canadian Grain Commission’s food safety programs have finally, after years of work, been benchmarked by the Global Food Safety Initiative. CSI had been an accredited service provider for these programs for close to 15 years. We are now the only accredited service provider in Canada.

The CGC food safety program consists of the CGC’s Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (CGC HACCP) and the Canadian Identity Preserved Recognition System plus HACCP (CIPRS+ HACCP) certifications. CGC HACCP is voluntary and certifies that a grain company’s grain safety quality management system meets the grain safety requirements of the national Food Safety and Identity Preserved Quality Management System Standard. CIPRS is also voluntary and certifies that a company’s identity preserved system for the production, handling and transportation of specialty grains, oilseeds or pulses is effective.

The origins of CIPRS were in the soybean export market, where Asian buyers were looking for valid assurances that identity preservation of non-GMO soybeans had been maintained. CIPRS+ HACCP and CGC HACCP were developed a few years later when food safety became an increasing concern for consumers world wide.

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These programs provide assurances  that food safety pre-requisite programs and HACCP plans were in place at the plants’ receiving, processing, storing and shipping containers of food-grade soybeans. Audits are conducted across Canada by CSI auditors, from B.C. to the Maritimes. The certifications have already expanded beyond soybeans, and the recent benchmarking will open that door further.

The Global Food Safety Initiative brings together key actors of the food industry to collaboratively drive continuous improvement in food safety management systems around the world. With a vision of safe food for consumers everywhere, food industry leaders created GFSI in 2000 to find collaborative solutions to collective concerns, notably to reduce food safety risks, audit duplication and costs while building trust throughout the supply chain.

At the time, there was no existing scheme that could be qualified as “global” that could be adopted by everyone. The Global Food Safety Initiative therefore chose to go down the route of benchmarking, developing a model that determines equivalency between existing food safety certification programmes, whilst leaving flexibility and choice in the marketplace.

The benchmarking of CGC HACCP and CIPRS+ HACCP is significant. It means CSI’s services as an auditor for the CGC become even more important. Because the CGC’s food safety programs now meets the Global Food Safety Initiative’s high standards, clients whom we audit as part of these programs can be even more competitive in today’s global food market.

It also means that CSI remains as relevant as ever as a quality service provider whose services are needed more than ever in an ever-more competitive global marketplace. The Global Food Safety Initiative continually evolves its benchmarking requirements to reflect emerging trends in food safety, industry best practices and stakeholder input. To be at the forefront of ensuring Canada maintains its globally-recognized food safety standards is very exciting for us and our clients.

As benchmarking requirements evolve, we will be sure to let our clients know and work with them to keep our country recognized around the world as a provider of safe food. In the mean time, you can visit for info on the Global Food Safety Initiative and its benchmarking program.