International Paper (NYSE:IP) today further solidified their ongoing commitment to improving food safety throughout the supply chain. The Company announced the Shelbyville, Ill. facility has achieved food safety certification by exceeding the standards of the benchmarking procedures as dictated by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). International Paper further declared the goal of meeting or exceeding the GFSI standards at all their U.S. Foodservice Facilities by the end of 2016.
GFSI is a non-profit, international benchmarking organization created to standardize food safety rules and has been rapidly recognized as the 'gold standard' for international food safety. These global specifications promoted by GFSI address food, packaging, packaging materials, storage and distribution. Certification is a very stringent and demanding process that requires a facility to organize its Quality Management System (QMS) to address components in the manufacturing process such as procedures, policies, work instructions, document control and record maintenance. Supplier owned audits are a significant part of the process as well.
"Safety as a whole is an ingrained part of our everyday operations and our number one priority," stated Tracy Pearson, Vice-President and General Manager of International Paper's Foodservice Business. "We are proactively doing our part to ensure we have the systems in place to eliminate food safety risks in the packaging arena and continue to provide a top quality product."
Requests for GFSI-benchmarked audits have been quickly growing which is no surprise given the scope of the initiative touches all aspects of the food industry. Many large retailers and foodservice industry brands are calling for this type of certification as a pre-requisite to doing business.Tracy Pearson commented, "International Paper continuously strives to exceed our commitment of excellence to our customers. As the needs of our customers continue to grow, we are well positioned to meet those needs."