In the food safety world, acronyms are used in multiple scenarios. It can get confusing when trying to figure out what the acronyms mean or how to pronounce them. My goal today is share some knowledge regarding the most commonly used acronyms. This will help you when speaking about all of these food industry acronyms we use in our everyday life.
I’ll begin with the most frequently used acronyms and explain how to pronounce them, whether it be by saying each letter or reading the word. Knowing this useful information will be beneficial by making you more informed when you need to reach out to a certification body, also known as “CB”, and pronounced in letter form. Although you may not use every acronym, having a basic understanding of the most used ones is vital.
Two common acronyms that are widely known around the world are the FDA and USDA. From there, another critical acronym one should know is HACCP plan, pronounced hass-ip. This stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plan which is a requirement when completing an audit.
Going further into the types of audits a company can receive, varies on what guidelines are needing to be met. The first audit I’ll go into is your basic GMP audit and then I will briefly explain.
In order to achieve getting a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice, pronounced in letter form) audit, a facility is going to call up a CB and explain what is done at the facility. From there, they’ll direct you to the correct audit form that the facility will be audited against. At times, when looking at the form, the words eventually begin to flow together and leaves more confusion than clarification. This is where someone may want to consider getting a Gap Analysis (pronounced as the word Gap rather than G-A-P). A Gap Analysis is a consultation to prepare you for a GMP audit not to be confused with GAP audit which stands for Good Agricultural Practices for the Ag industry (short for agriculture, pronounced aag).
So let’s say that you find out that you need a GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) audit, now what? There are several choices. Under the GFSI umbrella there are audit schemes such as SQF (Safe Quality Food), BRC (British Retail Consortium), IFS (International Featured Standard) and FSSC (Food Safety System Certification) 22,000. All pronounced as their individual letters. All of these are equal and based on ISO (Pronounced “Eye-So”) to ensure that all the documentation is consistent. One standard just may be preferred more than another, with your supplier. If you are needing help with consulting prior to the audit you will want to get a Pre-Assessment prior to your doc (document) review/ desk audit. These mean the same thing. The doc review is the audit that is conducted on your documentation the first year of auditing, starting your audit cycle.
This is just a down and dirty run-through of the acronyms. Now, at least you will verbally sound like you know what you are talking about.
Shannon Nute, MBA
Director of Communications
ASI Food Safety