Podcast: GFSI Global Food Safety Conference Day Two Collaboration & Harmonisation
17th February 2012 by JChowdhury
Welcome to the LRQA Business Assurance Food Podcast Series. On day two of the GFSI Global Food Safety Conference in Orlando, collaboration and harmonisation remain two of the most dominant themes. We talk to Fons Schmidt, the independent chairman of the Board of Stakeholders of the Foundation of Food Safety Certification, the owners of FSSC 22000. We also spoke to LRQA’s Food Thought Leader Cor Groenveld and Vel Pillay – LRQA Americas Food Safety Expert. But first we hear from Fons who shared his thoughts on the first half the conference.
Fons Schmidt: I have seen a lot of people over 900 is a great crowd and they can be very proud of this, and I’m still proud of it having started more or less with a small group of people, the GFSI in the past. It is fantastic of course, but there are a lot of challenges and you hear that all time. The very basic idea of ‘certified once, accepted everywhere’ is not followed by some players and I won’t mention the name, basically retailers who have another interest because they finance one way or another some of the schemes. That is, I would say, a growing concern and that should be addressed more severely by the Global Food Safety Initiative. So that’s criticism, and its going on because it was there last year and the year before so we hope that with this new Chairman, Yves Rey from Danone, the first manufacturing chairman so to say that he can make a move towards the big players who are in his board. The good thing which I think this GFSI did, and which is very well expressed in this meeting so far is this sixth version of the guidance document. Which has really raised the bar to such an extent that if you can pass the examination, so to say. And you will be recognised under version six of the guidance document, you are a very good scheme.
We are absolutely confident that FSSC22000 will meet all the requirements, we have sent it in, we haven’t got any negative comments so far. So it will take a couple of months longer and what you see now is so difficult to meet these requirements and you hear that all over the place, that there will be fewer schemes and that is good, there should be competition I like five or six schemes on manufacturing, we are the only independent one okay – that is our choice – but there has been schemes which could not be taken too seriously. I am not going to mention names either. They have not sent in their scheme because they just cannot make it and that is a very good thing and that is a continuous improvement loop which should be guarded and will be guarded I think by this
Interviewer: We then caught up with Cor who shared his thoughts on what he had heard and seen at the conference.
CG: Well we are in Orlando and Orlando is all about magic here. I mean it’s all the theme parks, it’s all about magic. I think the magic word in this conference is collaboration. It’s all about collaboration and again it was very clear, I loved the starting presentation of Frank Yiannis and Yves Rey. Frank Yiannis is from Wal-Mart, he made a great book, Food Safety Culture. And we had Yves Rey from Danone. So we had a manufacturer and we had a retailer on stage and in the beginning they stood far away from each other and they talked about what is the difference between a retailer and what the similarity between a retailer and a manufacturer. And they came closer to each other all the time in the presentation. It is about collaboration. I think the next step we have to make is go further on collaboration, that is the only way that we can improve food sustainability, food safety, all these two things. The figure that was showed yesterday by Frank Yiannis that 1.8billion people die each year because of food safety or food problems, that is unbelievable. So, we are doing a good job but we have to collaborate even more with each other. Certification bodies, manufacturers, retailers. And one of the things today Michael Taylor will be on stage and he works for the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, and I also think we need to work more closely with governments. I think that is also a next step we need to achieve, to work together with the governments and use also third party certification in the role of the governments, to look at food organisation and at their food safety management systems.
Interviewer: Cor continued with an insight into the LRQA afternoon session
This afternoon I think it will be absolutely a thrilling presentation. We have Cargill, we have Mars, and we have Wrigley together with LRQA on stage. And I was involved in helping them to draft the presentation and they will show how in the supply chain Cargill as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of ingredients, Mars and of course are well known big family owned company making all kinds of confectionary, pet food, and also Wrigley well known about the chewing gum are working together. They work together on improving food safety and quality in the supply chain. But also, how we supported them in their systems because they are clients of ours, and what we tried to do with them is to make sure we have a customised audit programme. So we are not only delivering them a certificate that can hang on the wall, because it is nice to have a beautiful certificate and to hang it on the wall with beautiful paper, but it is about the audit itself. So we are trying and what we are doing at the moment is supporting these companies in their journey to continuously improve the systems and that is the presentation this afternoon and I am looking forward to seeing that, absolutely.
Interviewer: And finally Vel Pillay spoke about the capacity building GFSI initiative.
Well basically, there’s a lot of the small producers and large producers that are not able to meet GFSI recognised benchmark schemes. So what GFSI has done is to create a programme consisting of two modules. One is basic by which the company can self-assess themselves and determine whether they meet the basic requirements, and if they do they go to intermediate level and self-assess or can get somebody else, a certification body, to look at their process using the intermediate module. And if they meet that requirement this means that they are basically ready to move to the next stage which is to be certified GFSI benchmark standard.
Thank you for listening to the LRQA Business Assurance food podcast series. The 2012 GFSI Global Food Safety Conference set a new record with over 900 attendees from 47 countries. The importance of collaboration and the assessment and the certification process were front and centre of day one.
Our next episode will be a food round table featuring Roger Bont from Cargill, Fons Schmidt, Cor Groenveld and Vel Pillay.
GFSI Conference Feb 2012 Harmonisation & Collaboration Podcast