GLOBAL – The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has announced the addition of 6 industry experts to its Steering Committee including several new retail members, a step that will strengthen GFSI’s governance and help add important voices to the development of GFSI’s global strategy.
GFSI is a CEO-led Coalition of Action from The Consumer Goods Forum, bringing together 38 retailers and manufacturers and an extended food safety community to help oversee food safety standards for businesses and help provide access to safe food for people everywhere.
The Steering Committee members assist in shaping the direction of the coalition and help deliver its mission of driving collaboration between retailers and manufacturers and ensure an open and transparent relationship with key stakeholders.
Joining the committee are Hugo Byrnes, Vice President Product Integrity, Ahold Delhaize; Mark Fryling, Vice President Global Food Safety and Quality, General Mills; Sara Mortimore, Vice President, Global Food Safety, Walmart and Carletta Ooton, Vice President – Product Assurance, Risk and Security, Amazon. Others include Natalia Somer, Director of Department of Quality Management System, Magnit and Nelum Vithana, Manager Corporate – Product Research & Development, Cargills.
Roy Kirby, former Global Director – Microbiology, Food Safety and Toxicology, Mondelēz International, and Co-Chair of the GFSI Steering Committee, said, they received numerous applications for the opening. He informed that the screening process was rigorous and only the very best candidates who align with GFSI’s vision of safe food for people everywhere, and who are focused on raising the food safety bar globally, were selected.
“It’s an important time for food safety as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic continue to create more challenges that require even more impactful collaborations to overcome. We are very happy that we can now call on the skills and experiences of our new Steering Committee members, as well as those already on the team, to help us ensure everyone has access to safe food no matter where they are in the world.”
Howard Popoola, Vice President – Corporate Food Technology and Regulatory Compliance at The Kroger Company, and Co-Chair of the GFSI Steering Committee, mentioned that the Consumer Goods Forum is a parity-based organization where retailers and manufacturers have an equal voice on how the industry can work together on pre-competitive challenges like food safety.
“It was, therefore, critical that we corrected the imbalance by adding more retailers in this round of additions. Some of the prospective retail members needed a little more time to get their applications in, so were unable to join initially, but we are delighted that they’ve now come through as they are very important additions to the team.”
The GFSI Steering Committee now includes 23 experts from the world of food safety – including 11 retailers and 12 manufacturers – who are also members of the Consumer Goods Forum. Per GFSI’s Governance Rules, the Steering Committee will be open to receiving new applications every quarter, upon when the prospective members will be assessed.
Each Steering Committee member commits to supporting the three strategic priorities of GFSI namely, harmonizing and benchmarking of food safety certification programmes, food safety capability building and public private partnership work.
“As the world begins to pay attention to global agenda items like the UN Food Systems Summit and how food can be produced more sustainably, it’s important food safety be a part of that conversation. Food safety is critical to developing sustainable food systems because if it’s not safe, it’s not food and if it’s not food, it’s waste. The new members of the Steering Committee will bring valuable insights from their work and approaches in markets around the world and I look forward to working with them as we play our part in building sustainable food systems and help shape a future where food safety is everyone’s business.”