The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is pleased to announce the formation of a Local Group in Australia and New Zealand as part of its regional outreach model. The new group, GFSI AusNZ, is the seventh GFSI Local Group, joining existing groups in Japan, China, Europe, US-Canada, Mexico and South Latam.
Fifty local industry members have expressed interest in participating in the group, whose Steering Committee already comprises leading retailers, manufacturers and food service companies including Woolworths Group, The Coca-Cola Company, Coles Supermarkets, Kerry, Campbell Arnotts, Fonterra, McDonalds and Goodman Fielder.
A Global Trend Towards Industry-Lead Initiatives
The creation of this group results from a desire to better leverage GFSI in the region at a time when the industry is experiencing pivotal change. The food industry in Australia and New Zealand has a strong agricultural base and a ‘clean and green’ reputation. In recent years, concerns linked to foodborne pathogens, contamination and food defense have received attention while the food supply has come under increased observation.
The region is following a global trend to focus increasingly on preventative measures and leverage industry-lead initiatives such as GFSI to complement regulatory oversight. The industry has a long association with GFSI through Technical Working Groups and the GFSI Conferences. The formation of the GFSI AusNZ Local Group will formalise that relationship and assist in establishing GFSI initiatives across the local industry while addressing local issues.
Local Players Set to Implement Global Strategy for Food Safety
The GFSI Board created the regional network to support GFSI’s efforts in different parts of the world and to promote a harmonised approach to managing and improving food safety across geographies.
The GFSI AusNZ Local Group will initially focus on three strategic priorities:
1. Developing awareness of GFSI and harmonising certification programmes
2. Building capability in companies who want to put in place or improve their food safety systems by leveraging the Global Markets Programme as a pathway to certification
3. Engaging state and federal food safety authorities in a dialog around GFSI to promote public-private-partnerships.
A Worldwide Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration
In addition to GFSI’s work in benchmarking for a simplified and fortified food supply, its efforts in capability building have been hailed by both private and public sectors as a premier contribution and continue to be deployed around the world. The Global Markets Programme sets out how companies who want to put in place or improve their food safety systems can meet the challenge of food safety, while simultaneously reducing hazards in global food supply chains and improving market access.