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Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in the Food industry: What you need to know

Posted by Bertrand Duteil on 09/02/2017

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When purchasing material from your suppliers, you generally have to take their manufacturing practices as good. To support this vision, several certificates such as the ISO 9001 certificate or the HACCP can help you have a overview on what your suppliers do. But to keep the supply chain as transparent as possible, you may need further documents from your supplier.

We will today learn more about one of the most important document for your supplier documentation: the GMP Certificate.

The European guideline for a good manufacturing practice serves quality management in the production of products presenting a potential health hazard for humans. The GMP guideline regulates safety and production requirements for the following domains:

  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Cosmetics
  • Animal feed
  • Food
  • Packaging and material in contact with food

The GMP guideline contains among other specifications for a GMP compatible quality management system, but also for hygiene standards in the health and production domains as well as for traceability. The guideline, originally enforced in the USA by the US Food and Drug Administration before being internationalized, is based on established standards such as the ISO 9001 or the HACCP but also on national regulations for specific industries and EU regulations.

GMP Certificate - Content and variations

The official proof for the compliance to the guideline can only be done by national authorities. A GMP certification can be issued individually to companies for the compliance to GMP guidelines and prepares for the official certificate issued by the authorities.

For companies working in the food industry, two variations of the document can play a role in the supplier management. Producing companies generally request the following certificates to their suppliers:

1- GMP Codex Certificate in food industry

The document attests companies with a food safety management system compatible with the GMP requirements and which have been checked by audit bodies and authorities. The legal basis of the guideline is based on the EU regulation No. 2023/2006 on good manufacturing practice for materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.

2- GMP+ Certificate of delivered shippings

The GMP+ certificate was first created as a national system before being developed as an international system. The Plus stands for the integration of the HACCP in the guideline of good manufacture practice.

Example: GMP+ B4: Road transport Animal Feed
The extension of the GMP guideline covers the same domains as the animal feed following this pattern:

  • GMP+ B 1 Production, Trade and Services
  • GMP+ B2 Production of Feed Ingredients
  • GMP+ B 3 Trade, Collection and Storage & Transshipment
  • GMP+ B 4 Transport
  • GMP+ B4.3 Short Sea Shipping and Inland Waterways Transport
  • GMP+ B 8 Production and Trade in Pet Foods
  • GMP+ BCN CEE additional requirements for central & eastern Europe
  • GMP+ BCN QM Milk

Certification process

The certification process takes place with a certification audit and follow the usual steps required for a certification:

  • Pre audit including a report
  • Audit preparation
  • Certification audit
  • Audit post processing
  • Certification issue

Supplier certification check

Quality management and purchasing departments should pay attention to the following criteria during the certification check:

  • Name of the certified company
  • Name of the certification body
  • Certificate registration number
  • Date of certification
  • Beginning and end of validity period (document valid 3 years)

Further information

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Tags: Certifications, tips