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In February 2019, GFSI welcomed its newest body of regional advocates: the Australia-New Zealand Local Group. Comprised of industry experts from across this important export region, the Australia-New Zealand Local Group joins its counterparts in Japan, China, Europe, US-Canada, Mexico and South Latin America in furthering GFSI’s path towards a regionalised approach to global food safety.

In its first year of work, the Australia-New Zealand Local Groups has focused on three priorities: harmonising certification programmes, promoting the Global Markets Programme and developing public-private partnerships with local authorities. At the GFSI Conference in February — soon after the Local Group’s debut — we caught up with Adrian Sharpe, who was part of the Steering Committee that defined these priorities.

Today on the GFSI Experts Series, Adrian explains some of the drivers behind the formation of the Aus-NZ Local Group and predicts the direction of its future work. Watch his interview on GFSI Youtube, or read the transcript below.

Can you please introduce yourself?

Adrian Sharpe: My name’s Adrian Sharpe. I’m the Vice President of Global Supply Quality, working for the Kerry Taste and Nutrition business.

GFSI has recently had an exciting development in your part of the world. Can you elaborate?

Adrian: We’ve had the opportunity to create a new Local Australia-New Zealand GFSI Group, which has a cross membership of about eight companies initially, with a growing interest of about 20 to 40 companies.

Has that been a quick process, or did it take a long time?

Adrian: No, it’s been a very quick process, because people are very familiar with the GFSI schemes in Australia and New Zealand in a very mature market, both domestic and export. And it’s a tool to keep on growing small to medium enterprises.

What were the drivers behind creating this GFSI Local Group?

Adrian: I think one of the key drivers is consumer trust, a continual demand on the food industry as a total, and to continually build capacity. And [Australia] is a major exporting country. It also gives growth opportunities for the domestic market to support all different parts of the world.

Do you have a vision of where you want to be in about three years time?

Adrian: I think the vision for the Local Group from our Steering Committee members is to ensure that we continually support the small to medium enterprises and increase awareness, both domestically and for the people who supply back into Australia and New Zealand, but also for export opportunities in such a small part of the world. You need to have growth opportunities in multiple areas.

Thanks for joining the GFSI family, and we’re very excited to see where you’re headed.

Adrian: Thank you. And I would like to wish GFSI a happy birthday.

To learn more about GFSI Local Groups and their regional outreach efforts, don’t miss our previous episode with Ana Vera, Co-Chair of the South Latin America Local Group, and Andrés Murchison, Secretary of Food and Bioeconomy from Argentina’s Ministry of Agroindustry.Follow #GFSIexperts on TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn and subscribe to GFSI News to make sure you do not miss an episode!

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