GFSI 2022 Conference – Day One Review

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MYReporting by Conor Farrelly on the first day of the GFSI conference, which is taking place in Barcelona.

It’s been a long time coming, but the first in-person GFSI conference since last – in Seattle two years ago – is now underway, with experts and business leaders from around the world coming together to discuss common food security challenges.

The theme for this year’s conference was set by Consumer Goods Forum Managing Director Wai-Chan Chan, who said the 2022 event will focus on “impact for safe and sustainable food”. Chan also referred to the “difficult two years” since the Seattle conference, during which the world faced a global pandemic, rising inflation and the outbreak of war.

Chan himself was not in his current position as general manager at the last GFSI conference in person, and his keynote included a summary of actions since the 2021 conference, which was held virtually.

The GFSI strategy for 2022 was also touched upon by Chan, who outlined the organization’s three goals for the year: to increase capacity building program efforts, to prepare for future potential issues food shortage; strengthen ties with UN delegates, many of whom were present at the conference; and to create a GFSI certification database, to provide transparency on who has a GFSI certificate and which certificates are approved by GFSI.

After Chan’s keynote address, GFSI Director Erica Sheward praised the retailers and manufacturers who “fed the world in the face of a global pandemic,” and those who strove “to make the law thing, not the quick thing,” during COVID-19, as difficult as it is.

GFSI Steering Committee Update

GFSI Steering Committee representatives Monique Pellegrino (Danone), Roy Kirby (Mondelēz International), Howard Popoola (the Kroger Co.) and Tom Wiester (Starbucks) also spoke during the morning session, each providing a summary of the committee’s work.

The discussion revolved around alignment and trust – two key elements of food safety accreditation – with Kirby stating that trust “comes on foot and goes on horseback”, alluding to the consequences that occur when she is broken.

Other groups represented throughout the morning session included WHO, FAO, Codex Alimentarius and the United Nations World Food Programme. WHO’s Francesco Branca discussed the group’s new food safety strategy and encouraged government agencies to implement more food safety rules, following a similar theme from the keynote on increasing food safety. public and private partnerships, given that “food security is everyone’s business”.

Elsewhere, Virginia Siebenrok of the UN Food Bank gave an update on its work providing food during various humanitarian crises around the world, referring to Ukraine, saying: “It’s a new geography for us – Europe”.

Dealing with product recalls

Product recalls are a sensitive topic in food safety, due to their “reactive” nature rather than the “proactive” response favored by the GFSI. The issue of recalls was discussed by Lisa Robinson, vice president of food safety at Ecolab, who said using “collaboration and clear communication throughout the supply chain” was key. when developing a callback strategy, noting the importance of “having the right speed-dial partner” when things go wrong.

Howard Popoola of Kroger, Leda Touliatou of Nestlé and Roger Hancock of Recall InfoLink joined Robinson. Hancock brought up an interesting point when discussing product recall pain points, as typically “a lot of money is spent getting products to consumers, but there’s not a lot of money spent to get it out of the consumer’s house. [during a recall].”

Elsewhere, Popoola called for a harmonization of manufacturers’ product identification standards, as various methods are used to identify products. As he observed, massive food waste issues can arise if a product needs to be recalled, but the retailer doesn’t know which SKU to pull off the shelf and instead throws away perfectly safe food due to food safety issues. identification.

Importance of food security

Afterwards, a discussion entitled “Food safety is everyone’s business” took place, and the CEO of Mondelēz, Dirk Van de Put, was keen to highlight the link between sustainability and food safety, warning against problems associated with sacrificing one for the other.

Van de Put discussed food security with Amir Abdulla, deputy executive director of the World Food Programme, who also emphasized collaboration, saying, “To do what we have to do with food security, we will only be able to not do it on our own.”

Abdulla provided startling figures regarding the UN Sustainable Development Goal Zero Hunger, which was repeatedly mentioned throughout the day as crucial to GFSI’s strategy. According to his figures, in the world, 800 million people go to bed without having enough to eat and 45 million people are on the verge of starvation.

The WHO, FAO and Codex Alimentarius were also present at this seminar, with Tom Heilandt of the Codex Alimentarius referring to the air transport industry’s health and safety sharing practices, which have resulted in increased safety through collaboration and sharing of safety information between different airlines.

The day was closed by representatives from a number of GFSI regional groups, including members from Japan, Mexico, Australia and India. These groups addressed a number of similar areas, many of which had the same goals of harmonization, public-private partnerships around safe food and capacity building. Ride day two!

© 2022 European supermarket magazine – your source for the latest news from the A brand. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click on subscribe register for ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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