Primus labs began collecting food data in 1998, and in 2000, when GFSI was launched, it began working towards its goal of becoming a benchmarked standard of GFSI in the fresh produce industry, worldwide. In 2008 Azzule was launched as the owner of the PrimusGFS scheme and in July 2018, it gained recognition by GFSI as an accepted (benchmarked) certification audit program. Certification to any of these GFSI recognized standards provides purchasers of foods of the applicable services, assurance the food has been produced, prepared and handled to the globally accepted standards. Few retailers don’t require certification anymore. Retailers want to protect themselves from recalls and place the responsibility for safe food on the producers themselves.
Where does PrimusGFS come in? Processing facilities “post farm gate” are covered by a selection of available Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) schemes such as BRCGS or SQF. For facilities that are not ready for such an involved food safety system or are just starting out, HACCP or even a GMP audit may be a better choice.
PrimusGFS provides total supply chain coverage for farm produce and packing houses. PrimusGFS offers a food safety approach for companies that grow, harvest, pack, or deliver preliminary processing such as washing and repacking produce. These types of activities are known as “Pre-Farm” gate. This certification covers the food safety of agricultural and plant products and gives the option to have all information generated in an electronic format that is functional and can be transferred directly to retail or other buyers.
Depending on the operation being audited, PrimusGFS audits include Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS), Good Agricultural Practices (GAP’s), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).
The PrimusGFS Standard and the 7 Modules
Comparable farm focused GFSI schemes include Global Gap, Canada Gap, and Harmonized Gap. While retailers accept all of these, GLOBALG.A.P. and PrimusGFS are probably the most adopted by the industry.
PrimusGFS is divided into modules to allow the auditee the determine the scope of their audit and save time and money when parts of the audit checklist do not apply to their company. Likewise, it allows for flexibility to cover many types of operations so that training can center around a single Certification Program.
- Module 1: Food Safety Management System (FSMS) APPLICABLE TO ALL OPERATIONS
- Module 2: Farm APPLICABLE FOR FARM OPERATIONS
- Module 3: Indoor Agriculture (formerly greenhouse, where crops are grown in a controlled environment in a temporary or permanent enclosed structure) APPLICABLE FOR INDOOR AGRICULTURE OPERATIONS
- Module 4: Harvest Crew APPLICABLE FOR HARVEST CREW OPERATIONS
- Module 5: Facility (a handling operation carried out in one or more buildings where the product is being handled and or stored – examples include: storage and distribution centers, cold storage, packing houses) APPLICABLE FOR FACILITY OPERATIONS
- Module 6: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) System – required for GMP operations APPLICABLE TO ALL FACILITY OPERATIONS
- Module 7: Preventive Controls (PC) – optional and applicable to GMP operations only OPTIONAL TO ALL FACILITY OPERATIONS
Each of these modules changes with the industry. Food safety principles, stakeholder input, GFSI benchmarking requirements, and analytical evidence for improvements in case a nonconformity is discovered in the audit, greatly influence the PrimusGFS content.
Perry Johnson Food Safety Consulting, Inc. can assist you in achieving registration by:
- Performing an onsite gap analysis to determine the what gaps exist between your facility and the requirements of the standard.
- Assist in developing and documenting your HACCP to the requirements of Codex Alimentarius, train staff in the execution of monitoring HACCP requirements, train management staff in HACCP concepts, including issuing HACCP certifications, performing validation and verification activities for staff.
- Developing and documenting your prerequisite and Good Manufacturing Practices process, train staff on the execution of prerequisite/GMP program, including concepts in performing verifications and audits of practices.
- Develop and document your Food Safety Management System, including management review, internal audit, document control, customer complaint programs, recall/withdrawal. Train staff in the maintenance of these programs.
- Perform internal audits as part of the certification process.