GFSI conference launches in Houston

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Several nations will discuss the future of food safety.

HOUSTON- During the opening day of the Global Food Safety Initiative’s (GFSI) annual Global Food Safety Conference on Feb. 28, an updated version of GFSI’s Benchmarking Requirements was released during a press conference. Also announced were details of food-safety progress between public and private sectors as part of its “G30” of food safety.

One of the top global food safety events brought 1,150 food industry representatives from 56 countries to Houston, Texas. Seventy experts and thought leaders will share insights on food safety during the three-day event. The group includes executives from large food companies, government representatives and regulators from several countries, and practitioners from across the supply chain.

On Feb. 27, GFSI hosted more than 100 representatives from more than 20 countries and multilaterals organizations who met one day before the conference to explore ways to improve cooperation for better global public health outcomes. Countries including Japan, China, Mexico, Canada, the UK and the United States had a strong presence at the early meetings.

“Going forward, the hope is for this growing dialogue to create first-of-its kind understandings between world governments and business for mutually beneficial results for consumers, industry and regulators” said Mike Robach, vice president, corporate food safety, quality and regulatory for Cargill and chairman of the GFSI board of directors.

Multilateral organizations including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC, World Bank Group) also participated in the meetings.

The GFSI also discussed the “G30 initiative” of how food safety came together to discuss how it views the potential integration of private food safety assurance schemes within the context of national control systems.

The objective to hosting a 2017 edition of these meetings is to continue the informal discussion from the 2016 meetings on private certification, as well as to broaden the scope and discuss emerging food safety issues and trends.

“Going forward, the hope is for this growing dialogue to create first-of-its kind understandings between world governments and business for a mutually beneficial result for consumers, industry and regulators” said Robach.

Finally, GFSI also announced a breakthrough with the publication of the Benchmarking Requirements V7, the world’s most widely accepted benchmarking criteria which acts as a “food safety passport” across global supply chains, facilitating international trade and mutual trust in the level of safety systems in place.


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