CFSI poised for food safety advances - GFSI

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: GFSI from the China Focus Day
Picture: GFSI from the China Focus Day

Related tags Food safety

The annual GFSI China Focus Day had ‘unprecedented’ support from government and engagement from the private sector, according to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

It was the first joint event with the newly-established China Food Safety Initiative (CFSI), created by the GFSI Local Group and the CNHFA and endorsed by CFDA.

CFSI has benefited from engagement of local and global brands and national agencies including the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) and the China Nutrition and Health Food Association (CNHFA).

The Chinese government, CFDA and CNCA have supported the organisation of the GFSI Focus Day in China since 2012.

Strength in partnerships

“Public-private partnerships are essential to making sustainable change at a national and global level, and this collaboration with the Chinese government is even more relevant in a context where their stamp of approval strengthens the ability to operate locally," ​said Véronique Discours-Buhot, director, Global Food Safety Initiative, The Consumer Goods Forum. 

Véronique Discours-Buhot speaking at the focus day

“GFSI’s partnership with the CNCA has resulted in Technical Equivalence, which recognises the national standard’s equivalence against the relevant technical requirements of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements.

“GFSI believes that this acknowledgement of Technical Equivalence will drive adoption of the scheme by more local suppliers, thereby improving the general level of food safety in China.”

The two-day event gathered 390 food safety executives from China and worldwide.

Food safety work in Chinese context

The CFSI will accelerate growth by working with companies in China, creating work streams to tackle local challenges and encouraging certification to GFSI recognised schemes including China HACCP.

“It is crucial to harness local expertise to tackle local issues, specifically in China, where there is a need to work on the ground within the Chinese context, amidst new food safety laws, import and export  issues and smaller food operations," ​said Discours-Buhot.

"CFSI will also focus on benefits for smaller operations, with a much attention given to capability building through the GFSI Global Markets Programme.”

The speaker line-up included national chairs of Cargill, Danone, Walmart, Carrefour, McDonalds, Aeon, Metro and Hershey, as well as heads of Chinese companies New Hope Liuhe, Beijing Hualian, China Resources Vanguard Co., and COFCO.

CFSI work streams include the Internet Food Safety group, auditor competence, regulatory affairs, food fraud and awareness building.

It is working with 40 local and global companies in China and one hundred representatives who will participate in the CFSI’s work streams on a volunteer basis.

Discours-Buhot said they have an ongoing mandate and will communicate on specific milestones in the future. The main priority for the second semester of 2016 will be the design phase of the capability building programme.

She added that the way forward in improving food safety is collaboration among businesses in the private sector and with the public sector.

“It should go without saying that everyone has a right to safe food but the reality is that this right is not afforded to all, across all geographies. With today’s global supply chain, a global approach is required to achieve this.

“Moreover, the non-competitive nature of food safety is what continues to drive companies to dedicate resources to advancing the science and implementation of best-practices collaboratively and to sharing this knowledge.

“It is only by continuing to do so, that we can make sustainable change. This is something no one company or country can do alone.

"The talks provide takeaways that delegates can take home and implement in their own companies and the event provides opportunities to strengthen a food safety network that can get the ball rolling for collaboration throughout the year."

The China Focus Day in 2017 will look at local implementation of CFSI objectives. 

Related topics Markets Food safety China East Asia

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