During the opening plenary of its annual conference, a gathering of more than 1,000 food distributors, manufacturers and safety professionals, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) announced the newest edition of its benchmarking requirements.
GFSI said the new version is more than an update, “it's a complete rethink, representing the beginning of a new generation of recognition”. To highlight the significance of the changes made in this latest version, GFSI has broken with its traditional naming nomenclature, aligning the name of each updated set of standards with year of release. Thus, rather than Version 8, the new version of the benchmarking requirements will be known as Version 2020.
Aligned with Codex Alimentarius, GFSI’s science-based requirements enable a common understanding and mutual trust in the supply chain that facilitates trade, improves efficiency and lends nameplate authority to operations certified to a GFSI-recognized program. They incorporate stakeholder input from public consultations and are regularly revised to reflect best practices and evolving needs in the industry.
"Version 2020 has set a new foundation for ensuring safe food globally," said Olivier Robin, Head of Quality by Design and Quality in Manufacturing & Compliance at Nestlé and Chair of the Stakeholders Advisory Forum that helped to shape Version 2020. "Specifically, it has introduced new requirements for food safety certification, while simplifying and standardizing the approach. I am very proud to have been part of this achievement, which was only possible thanks to the engagement of everyone in the Stakeholders Advisory Forum and my colleagues at GFSI."
Version 2020 is intended to help achieve two primary objectives, transparency and objectivity, in service of GFSI's mission of ensuring safe food for consumers everywhere. New and strengthened elements in Version 2020 include two new scopes focused on hygienic design, elements of food safety culture, and reinforced impartiality of the auditing process and the monitoring of certification bodies.
2020 Board. In GFSI’s annual board election, its 24 board members were asked to vote for four leadership positions: two co-chairs and two vice-chairs. With the change, one co-chair position and one vice-chair position will represent the retail sector, while the other co-chair and vice-chair represent the manufacturing sector, more closely aligning with CGF’s rules for parity-based governance.
Each electee was endorsed by a positive vote of more than 50%. Their terms are set for two years with the possibility of a one-year extension. The newly-elected leadership positions include:
- Roy Kirby, Global Director of Microbiology, Food Safety and Toxicology at Mondelēz International, Co-Chair representing the manufacturing sector
- Craig Wilson, Vice President of Quality Assurance and Food Safety at Costco Wholesale Corporation, Co-Chair representing the retail sector
- Carletta Ooton, Vice President for Health, Safety, Sustainability, Security and Compliance at Amazon, Vice-Chair representing the retail sector
- Monique Pellegrino, Innovation Director at Danone, Vice-Chair representing the manufacturing sector
GFSI also welcomed eight new board members: Alex Mendes of PepsiCo, Hugo Byrnes of Ahold Delhaize GSO B.V., Barbara Masters of Tyson Foods, Inc., Kazuaki Miyagishima of AEON Co., Ltd., Laurent Francony of Group Carrefour, Nataša Matyasova of Nestlé and Sara Mortimore of Walmart. Monique Pellegrino of Danone, the Vice-Chair for the manufacturing sector, is also a new board member. The full Board of Directors list is available on the GFSI website.
Global Markets Awards. The Global Markets Awards, now in its fourth year, recognizes small-to-medium-sized enterprises that leverage GFSI’s Global Markets Program in their path towards food safety certification. The 2020 campaign received a large pool of applicants, which were categorized into four regions: Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe-North America.
With awards sponsor Greenfence, GFSI announced the 2020 winners as:
- Luna Export, Ethiopia (Africa): Founded in 2004, this goat slaughterhouse began a dramatic transformation three years ago. The company updated its production line, trained its staff in animal welfare and modern sanitation techniques and significantly improved the shelf life of its products, opening itself to the possibility of development and export.
- Shanghai Mcvolf Food Co. Ltd., China (Asia): This biscuit and wafer manufacturer, which began to supply large retailers’ private-label brands in 2004, earned its GFSI-recognized certification in 2015. It has established a self-management and evaluation system in accordance with the Global Markets Program checklist and is dedicated to becoming a trusted partner of consumers.
- Alacor, Argentina (Latin America): Alacor, a bakery that supplies pastries to retailers, began its GFSI journey in 2015 and achieved certification in 2017. The company’s facilities have received significant improvements, including a sanitary floor and roof, and all employees have been trained in various FS elements such as HACCP.
- Linya Smaku, Ukraine (Europe): Linya Smaku produces ready-to-eat Asian meals, such as noodles and sushi, for the Ukranian market, distributed through retail networks. The company used the Global Markets Program to develop its food safety management system into an interactive process involving check-ins with suppliers, customers and even competitors.
The GFSI Global Markets Program is a pathway to certification, providing an unaccredited entry point and step-by-step process for small and medium-sized companies striving to build capacity within production and manufacturing operations. The program is designed to support enterprises with maturing food safety management systems, providing customized guidance on how to meet the challenges of food production, while simultaneously reducing hazards in global food supply chains.
The GFSI Selection Committee praised the winners for their exemplary efforts in improving their food safety management systems and working towards greater market access through the use of GFSI tools.