Guelph food safety agency to join U.S. certifier

One of Canada’s top food safety standards agencies is merging into a like-minded U.S.-based organization.

The Guelph Food Technology Centre, which provides consulting, training and auditing services to the food and beverage industries, will merge into NSF International and its Guelph-based operations will be rebranded as NSF-GFTC.

"Adding GFTC’s food safety expertise to our global food division will enable us to expand services to Canadian and multinational companies to help strengthen their food safety practices and stay competitive," NSF CEO Kevan Lawlor said in a release Tuesday.

GFTC’s members and clients are expected to benefit from "a broad array of NSF food safety training, auditing and certification services that include seafood, organic and global food safety certifications."

The centre would also get support from Ann Arbor, Michigan-based NSF International, which bills itself as the largest food safety certifier in the agriculture sector, with 47 offices in 27 countries, as well as testing labs in Europe, China, the U.S. and Latin America.

"NSF-GFTC can now export Canadian food safety expertise to other countries utilizing NSF’s global infrastructure, as NSF International operates in more than 150 countries," the two agencies said in their release. "Canadian multinationals now have a food safety organization which supports their international growth with global farm-to-fork services."

"Our services are the ideal complement to NSF’s excellence in providing food safety certification, auditing, training and technical services," GFTC president Petra Schennach said in the same release. "We look forward to providing a broader array of food safety services to members and clients both domestically and abroad."

"Reinvestment"

Terms of the deal weren’t available Tuesday, except that proceeds from the merger will go to establish a separate funding agency, to be called GFTC Legacy Inc.

GFTC Legacy is expected to provide for University of Guelph undergraduate scholarships, co-operative education and internships, programs to help "improve innovation for food processors," scholarship trusts for "future Canadian food technologists" and GFTC "member training reinvestment support."

GFTC, founded in 1994 at the University of Guelph but now an independent body, provides courses focused on food safety, regulation and HACCP, is a licensed training centre for the SQF (Safe Quality Food) program and an approved training establishment for BRC (British Retail Consortium). It also certifies for the Canadian Horticultural Council’s CanadaGAP fruit and vegetable safety program.

NSF began in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation, operating out of the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health before morphing into NSF International in 1990.

Its roster of services includes Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification, auditing, consulting and technical services, HACCP validation and inspection, and organic and gluten-free certification through QAI (Quality Assurance International).

NSF also bills itself as the leading certifier of foodservice equipment, non-food compounds and bottled water and beverages.

Related stories:
CanadaGAP offers new certification options, March 24, 2010
Training funded for Ont. food processors, Jan. 31, 2008

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