This July, the PrimusGFS Version 3.0 was successfully benchmarked by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and officially recognized against the GFSI Guidance Document 7.1 Edition. PrimusGFS is regarded as one the most recognized food safety auditing schemes in the Western Hemisphere, especially among fresh produce producers.
PrimusGFS is a voluntary food safety standard that establishes requirements for certification in the agricultural crops sector in 20 countries and endorsed by over 7,000 organizations. The PrimusGFS scheme includes:
- Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS)
- Good Agricultural Practices (GAP’s)
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s)
- Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)
What’s New in Version 3.0?
The most significant modification to Version 3.0 is the inclusion of the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule, Preventive Controls for Human Food and the Sanitary Transportation Rule. V3.0 includes GFSI’s guidance documents for both GAP’s and GMP’s. PrimusGFS V3.0 will be mandatory January 1st, 2019 and all audits conducted after this date must use the new version.
The PrimusGFS V3.0 has expanded from three modules to seven in order to incorporate the new standards. Below are the outlined modules along with a questions and expectations document and printable module checklist so you are prepared for the upcoming deadline.
- Module 1: Food Safety Management System (applicable to all operations)
- Module 2: Farm
- Module 3: Indoor Agriculture
- Module 4: Harvest Crew
- Module 5: Facility
- Module 6: HACCP (mandatory for facilities)
- Module 7: Preventive Controls (optional for facilities)
- Sustainability and Social Welfare addenda are also available as addons to Version 3.0.
Changes Regarding Electronic Documents
Primus is adapting to more and more food and beverage providers migrating to the cloud and electronic record-keeping systems. In V3.0 they address expectations on how files are managed, stored and backed-up. In italics are the additions from the previous version…
Question – 1.02.03
Are both paper and electronic food safety related documents and records created, edited, stored and handled in a secure manner?
Both paper and electronic documents and records that are part of the food safety program (e.g., procedures, policies, training records, testing results, monitoring records, etc.), should be stored securely and backed up in the case of electronic files. In the case of paper files, they should be generated using ink (not pencil), and if changes are made to records after initial entry, changes should be clearly legible and tracked, avoiding the use of corrective fluid. For electronic records, there should be access control and a back up of all files. When electronic records are amended, they should show what was amended, by whom and when (editing history). Records should be legible and accurate.
How to Back up your Electronic Files
The big takeaway regarding electronic files is being able to show they are backed up. There are multiple ways to back up electronic files to meet this requirement.
External Hard Drive
An external hard drive is a hard disk drive that is often portable and can store any types of files. These hard drives act as an external drive that connects to your computer to provide extra storage. If your food safety documents are stored locally on a laptop, you can copy them to an external hard drive to back them up. If you only have a few files and photos to back up, a 500GB or 1TB drive, which will cost around $50-$100, will more than suffice. A 1TB drive can hold up to several thousand documents. If you have more files than that to back up, look at 2TB and up models which start around $100 (via CNET).
Cloud Storage Providers
There are many affordable cloud storage providers that allow you to upload your files to their data center, essentially renting space for your files. These providers typically give you a certain amount of storage for free then charge as you upload more and more files. Examples of providers include Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive. Check out CNET’s comparison of the most popular cloud storage providers.
If you are already using or looking to implement a food safety management software, then these solutions typically take care of backing up your files. CompWALK provides cloud-based food safety management software to help manage food safety documentation and back up your files. When you store your files in CompWALK, they are being protected, backed up and secured, in addition to providing tools to efficiently manage all aspects of your food safety and compliance operations.