BARCELONA, SPAIN — February 5, 2009 – GLOBALGAP and the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute announced today that the SQF 1000 standard will be benchmarked to the GLOBALGAP standard.

SQF 1000 is already recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) as a primary production certification program. Benchmarking by GLOBALGAP means SQF will be able to offer produce growers food safety certification recognized by both GFSI and GLOBALGAP. As a result, a primary producer will be able to receive both SQF and GLOBALGAP certification at the same time in a single audit.

Nigel Garbutt, GLOBALGAP Chairman, said, “This is an important step forward that will enable a single audit to meet the requirements of both standards, leading to a simplification of requirements for suppliers as well as eliminating the costs associated with duplicate audits.“

“This partnership will benefit produce suppliers in several ways,” said Jill Hollingsworth, group vice-president of food safety programs at Food Marketing Institute, which administers the SQF program. “The produce sector will save time and money by receiving two certifications with a single audit. More important, this combined audit provides a solution for those suppliers who need to comply with customer requests for SQF and GLOBALGAP certification.”

The SQF Institute, based in Arlington, VA, administers the SQF program, which is a leading, global food safety and quality certification and management system, designed to meet the needs of buyers and suppliers worldwide. The SQF program provides independent certification that a producer’s food safety and quality management system complies with international and domestic food safety requirements. This enables producers to assure their customers that food has been produced, processed, prepared and handled according to the highest possible standards, at all levels of the supply chain.

GLOBALGAP, based in Cologne, Germany, is a private sector body that sets voluntary standards for the certification of agricultural products around the globe. The GLOBALGAP standard is primarily designed to reassure consumers about how food is produced on the farm by ensuring food safety and minimising detrimental environmental impacts of farming operations, reducing the use of chemical inputs and ensuring a responsible approach to worker health and safety.

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Food Marketing Institute (FMI) conducts programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations on behalf of its 1,500 member companies — food retailers and wholesalers — in the United States and around the world. FMI’s U.S. members operate approximately 26,000 retail food stores and 14,000 pharmacies. Their combined annual sales volume of $680 billion represents three-quarters of all retail food store sales in the United States. FMI’s retail membership is composed of large multi-store chains, regional firms and independent supermarkets. Its international membership includes 200 companies from more than 50 countries. FMI’s associate members include the supplier partners of its retail and wholesale members.