(Nov. 9, PACKER WEB EXCLUSIVE) Food-safety watchdogs in the U.S. and Europe have struck a deal to harmonize good agricultural practices standards.

On Nov. 8, Cologne, Germany-based GlobalGAP and the Safe Quality Food Institute, an arm of the Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute, announced they were developing a combined audit checklist.

The announcement was made at the Safe Quality Food Institute International Conference in Nashville.

“Our Board sees this as 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,” Nigel Garbutt, GlobalGAP’s chairman, said in a news release.

Tim Hammonds, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), said that suppliers seeking Safe Quality Food Institute certification can now demonstrate they meet both the Safe Quality Food Institute and GlobalGAP standards, saving time and money and making it easier for suppliers to meet the needs of their customers around the world, according to the release.

The Safe Quality Food Institute develops standards for general food safety practices and special controls for different commodities, working closely with suppliers and incorporating U.S. and international requirements.

GlobalGAP is a private sector body that sets voluntary standards for the certification of agricultural products around the globe.