TOKYO, 6th March 2018 – The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) held its third government-to-business meeting adjacent to the Global Food Safety Conference in Tokyo, the industry’s annual rendezvous for the advancement of food safety globally, which is taking place from 5th-8th March. Government food safety regulators and intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) met with the GFSI Board of Directors to discuss third party certification, discussing emerging food safety issues and trends. It was also an opportunity to explore how regulators and the private sector can advance food safety in the context of value chain management. Paul Mayers of the Canadian government, Mika Yokoto of Japan and Mike Robach, the chairperson of the GFSI Board of Directors, ran the meeting, informing and aligning understanding of third-party certification from a food safety and trade perspective.
The meeting allowed government officials, IGOs and the GFSI Board of Directors to discuss ongoing food safety reforms in their respective countries. These included the role of third-party audits and certification in such reforms, capacity building, SMEs and the use of the Global Markets Programme, auditor competence, and the work at the CODEX level on CCFICS Guidance on Third-Party Assurance Schemes. Furthermore, the discussions covered data coming from public and private assurance programmes, incident prevention and management, as well as the impact of big data.
GFSI seeks to establish more partnerships with governments, as part of its strategic ambition to foster strong relationships between private companies, regulators and intergovernmental organisations, harmonising regulations and reducing barriers to trade. The Government to Business meeting witnessed a stronger presence from Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well as increased participation from IGOs. The WTO/STDF, CODEX, FAO, the African Union Commission, IICA and different representatives of the World Bank also attended. Overall, there were 40 organisations representing 25 countries and 5 IGOs present.
Hosting these discussions is a unique way for GFSI to fulfil its core objectives, which are to reduce food safety risks by delivering equivalence and convergence between effective food safety management systems, developing food safety competencies and capacity building to create consistent and effective global food systems. Furthermore, the meeting provided a unique international stakeholder platform for collaboration, knowledge exchange and networking.
Mike Robach, Chairman of the GFSI Board and VP, Corporate Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Affairs, Cargill, commented, “We’re really pleased to have held the third edition of the GFSI government-to-business meeting at the Global Food Safety Conference. We believe that collaboration between governments and the private sector is absolutely vital – all stakeholders need to exchange ideas, build on the insights of other parties and understand how to implement food safety systems in the right way”.
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