The Wegmans family presenting the annual food safety award for best store.
Wegmans is a regional supermarket chain in the US that has been around for 100 years. Food safety has never been a competitive issue for us. We pride ourselves on high standards in everything we do, including food safety, and are always looking for best practices that can make us better. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is one such best practice, and we have seen its benefits.
We source food ingredients and products from all over the world so must do our utmost to ensure their safety. How better to do that than to belong to an initiative where everyone is working towards the same goal: safe food for consumers everywhere?
GFSI provides the stakeholders with an international forum for food safety dialogue and engagement. There is strength in numbers. We learn from each other and help others on their food safety journey. 98% of Wegmans private label suppliers are certified to one of the GFSI recognized schemes. We promote GFSI within our own company, further back our supply chain and forward, as certification heads to retail.
The Wegmans family has taken a leadership role in food safety for over 25 years. Danny Wegman, our CEO is the current GFSI co-sponsor with Irene Rosenfeld, Mondelez CEO for The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) board. Within Wegmans, our experienced food safety team works behind the scenes to support our stores, manufacturing, distribution and private label program.
Danny Wegman presenting on food safety at the 2016 CGF Global Summit, Cape Town, South Africa
Food Safety is deeply rooted in all aspects of our supply chain. As Danny has always said “Food Safety is Everyone’s Business”. We also engage with trade associations such as the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), regulatory agencies and others on this issue. Fresh produce is an area of great concern. FSMA implementation and Listeria control are two other priorities for us.
Over fifty countries were represented at the 2016 Global Food Safety Conference in Berlin. While GFSI still has much work to do, it is gaining strength and being noticed.
The fact that governments are now engaging with GFSI, is testimony to that. The first Government to Business (G2B) meeting held in Berlin was attended by 18 governments and we expect the G2B meeting at the 2017 Global Food Safety Conference in Houston to be even bigger. While the issues and challenges might differ, we are all partners together working for the same outcome: safe food for consumers everywhere.
I am proud of Wegmans’ association with the Global Food Safety Initiative.