GFSI and UNIDO to help improve food safety in China, South East Asia and Africa

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

The MoU was signed at the Consumer Goods Forum Summit
The MoU was signed at the Consumer Goods Forum Summit

Related tags Food safety Southeast asia Asia

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) around food safety.

The purpose is to develop food safety capability building projects in certain regions of the food supply network. These are being designed and expected start date is early 2017 in China.

The MoU is recognition of the collaboration between GFSI and UNIDO since 2009 and a step forward in developing projects in the next few years.

In late 2015, GFSI and UNIDO drafted the partnership which was solidified via the MoU signed in Cape Town at the CGF Global Summit.

It focuses on China, South East Asia and Africa and will be based on the GFSI Global Markets Programme and follow the UNIDO model Sustainable Supplier Development Programme (SSDP).

The SSDP has run projects in Russia, India and Egypt by Metro and Malaysia by AEON, based on the GFSI Global Markets Programme.

Through the pilots, GFSI and UNIDO said they have got good practices in terms of program design and delivering training.

It is now time to expand this through countries and supply chains where there is a strong need, they added.

Three focus regions

In China, the partnership aims to scale up food safety capacity building for local companies.

The aim for GFSI was to establish the China Food Safety Initiative (CFSI) and UNIDO has a cooperation with the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA).

The initiative is being designed with CFDA, Food Industry Asia (FIA) and the World Bank-led Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP).

In South East Asia, the aim is to start a regional SSDP programme, scaling up the UNIDO-AEON Malaysia SSDP work into a multi-country and multi-buyer initiative. 

GFSI and UNIDO are mapping the needs for GFSI members and further developments on the programme design will come at the end of the year.

In Africa, the project will design and build a joint UNIDO-GFSI multi-country, multi-buyer project on capacity building with a projected date of the second semester 2017.

In the Middle East, UNIDO and GFSI will enhance the role of the private sector in a platform established with the support of UNIDO under a regional project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).  

Potential for bigger impact

Mike Robach, chair of the GFSI board of directors, said the collaboration brings potential to have a bigger impact in the key regions.

“Multi-sector collaboration is the way forward in achieving food safety across borders and barriers. Our joint efforts within this partnership will take us further and faster towards our vision of safe food for consumers, everywhere."

The GFSI Global Markets Programme sets out how small and less developed companies (SMEs) can ensure food safety, while reducing hazards in the supply chain and working towards market access through certification to one of the 10 GFSI-recognised schemes.

It provides an unaccredited entry point for SMEs designed to build capacity within production and manufacturing operations, and work towards continuous improvement.

It does this by using industry knowledge and resources, providing guidance while investing in links in the supply chain.

Philippe Scholtès, managing director, programme development and technical cooperation at UNIDO, said: "The World Health Organization estimates that up to 600 million people fall ill every year after eating contaminated food.

“Our collaboration with GFSI will further strengthen and promote multiple benefits of safe food for social inclusiveness, sustainability and industrial development." 

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