GFSI’s Regional Event Brings Together More than 600 Food Safety Experts from Across the Region
MEXICO CITY and PARIS, 22nd May 2018 – The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recently held the second edition of its Mexico Focus Day in Mexico City on 3rd May. The latest edition of this key, regional event has been a tremendous success, witnessing the momentum around GFSI in Mexico and, moreover, in Latin America. This Focus Day saw the largest number of delegates of any GFSI Focus Day ever, with more than 600 delegates from all over the world participating.
Participants, including the suppliers and vendors of the members of the Steering Committee of the GFSI Mexico Local Group, brought a specific energy to the event with a strong willingness to learn more about food safety management systems and how GFSI helps ensure safe food for consumers everywhere by promoting harmonisation, capability building and awareness. The event programme covered the GFSI’s strategic priorities, food safety harmonisation through benchmarking, capability building and public-private-partnerships, and thought leadership. Delegates were also treated to a very specific focus on how those strategic priorities are being implemented in Mexico and in Latin America. The programme made links between the good practices in Mexico and other parts of the world, such as Chile, Japan and the USA.
Creating consistent and effective global food safety management systems
A key focus of the event was to explore ways that companies can develop competencies and capacity building in food safety to create consistent and effective global food systems.
The Focus Day was an important opportunity to learn from local CEOs on how they are driving positive food safety culture inside their companies from the top-down. As food safety tops the list of risks for food companies, the panel of CEOs described how they are leading by example to ensure the right food safety culture within their own businesses.
A specific panel was dedicated to GFSI’s public-private-partnerships strategic priorities with public authorities representing all the regulatory Mexican food safety landscape, with SENASICA (Ministry of Agriculture), DGN (Ministry of Economy), COFEPRIS (Ministry of Health) joined by influential public authorities from all over the world, including the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Agroforestries and Fisheries, and the US FDA and IICA sharing their thoughts and good practices on how the public sector is working with GFSI.
As the industry’s food network becomes more globalised and interconnected, there is a shift towards greater transparency and integrity from consumers on food safety and traceability. The panelists reiterated the idea that with this shift has come a recognition that a safer and more efficient food supply chain can only be realised with the support of local and national public partners working together with the private sector. Utilising collective resources, industry stakeholders and governments are working together more effectively today through GFSI to ensure that there are safeguards in place along the entire value chain, from origination to the end consumer and from Japan to Mexico and the USA.
Providing a unique, international and regional stakeholder platform
As with everything done by GFSI, and The Consumer Goods Forum, collaboration and knowledge exchange were at the heart of GFSI Focus Day Mexico. Together with the excellent networking opportunities provided, it is easy to see why this was the hot ticket for food safety experts and stakeholders in Mexico City.
Amongst the many examples of the great work being done by GFSI, its international Global Markets Programme, the GFSI’s capacity building tool used as a pathway to certification – was at the centre of the discussions, with a panel of retailers, manufacturers and food services using this programme as an incremental tool to leverage their supply chain. Nathalie Dyenson, GFSI Board member and Vice President, Food Safety & Quality, Dole Food Company, Inc., provided an orientation session on the global markets programme to delegates. The Programme provides an unaccredited entry point for companies with its step-by-step programme designed to build capacity within production and manufacturing operations, and implement a course of continuous improvement.
Panelists then described how the Global Markets Programme sets out how companies who lack or have underdeveloped food safety systems can meet the challenge of food safety, while simultaneously reducing hazards in global food supply chains and improving market access through certification to one of the GFSI-recognised programmes. The delegates of the Focus Day also had the chance to listen to a presentation made by Ruben Viccon. As the food safety manager from Asociaciones Agroindustriales Serranas, the 2018 Global Markets Programme award winner for Latin America, and based in Mexico, Ruben described how he engaged all the workers of his plan through the Global Markets Programme as a vendor for Nestlé Mexico and how the incremental approach of the Programme helped him improve his company’s food safety management system step-by-step.
The delegates also had the chance to listen to Mike Robach, GFSI Board Chairman and Vice President, Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Affairs for Cargill, give a presentation about the latest version of the GFSI benchmarking requirements, with the latest technical update on food fraud, food safety culture, and auditor competence from a GFSI perspective.
“The Mexican food industry is starving for knowledge and for exchanges on technical trends, issues, topics on food safety and how to improve food safety management systems. We saw throughout the day that there was a willingness to learn and to take away operational content and good practices that were shared during the day between all participants. This helped ensure the day was very successful for all who attended and for the combined vision of providing safe food for consumers in Mexico and all over the world”, said Luis Hernandez, GFSI Mexico Local Group Chairman and Upstream Supply Chain Corporate Quality Manager for Nestlé.
“The success of the event is largely due to the thought leadership that the Mexico Local Group has taken in the last three years to fulfill GFSI’s mission, vision and objectives and to promote safe food for consumers everywhere”, said Mike Robach.
The Mexico Local Group is made of a steering committee of 15 companies leading the momentum of GFSI in Mexico and constantly dedicating resources to GFSI. Mike Robach concluded by thanking the Group for their hard work and dedication, and for their continued support of GFSI, highlighting some examples of their work with DGN, the 2018 Global Markets Programme award winner for Latin America, and the panel on public-private-partnerships, which included three Mexican food safety authorities. “These were all tremendous achievements that made this day one of the most impactful Focus Days GFSI has ever held”, said Mike Robach.
This point also served to showcase how the event was the perfect example of the successful collaboration efforts between the GFSI Local Group in Mexico, GFSI Local Group in Japan, GFSI Local Group in Chile, sponsors and public authorities, whereby everyone put great effort into making the event a huge success.
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About Global Food Safety Initiative
The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) brings together key actors of the food industry to collaboratively drive continuous improvement in food safety management systems around the world. With a vision of Safe food for consumers everywhere, food industry leaders created GFSI in 2000 to find collaborative solutions to collective concerns, notably to reduce food safety risks, audit duplication and costs while building trust throughout the supply chain. The GFSI community works on a volunteer basis and is composed of the world’s leading food safety experts from retail, manufacturing and food service companies, as well as international organisations, governments, academia and service providers to the global food industry. GFSI is powered by The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global industry network working to support Better Lives Through Better Business. www.mygfsi.com
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