There are thousands of voices speaking up about GFSI in North America as new food safety reforms take place in the United States and Canada. I am just one, lone voice. Yet, I am privileged to represent GFSI formally in North America and I am excited about what I hear and see. Why?


Industry’s collective investment in the creation of GFSI fifteen years ago and in the principles of food science, systems management, collaboration and transparency have led us to a place where today customers and suppliers are aligned with government officials as they undertake food safety reforms grounded in the same principles.

The result: Company investments to have facilities certified under GFSI will help those same facilities comply with Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and, similarly the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SCFA).

Government-Business Collaboration

I also am excited about GFSI because, in an age of popular skepticism and finger-pointing, the Canadian Government and GFSI reached across the government-business divide and recently undertook an 18-month pilot together to examine the substantive differences between private food safety certification and government regulation. 

The result? In November, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced a new policy recognizing the role that private certification can play in helping Canadian businesses comply with the new Canadian food safety law. And, government officials from nearly two dozen countries attended the 2016 GFSI Global Conference in Berlin this year, demonstrating an increasing awareness and interest in GFSI and private certification among governments.

“GFSI has made us all Smarter”

Finally, I am excited about GFSI because of what an industry colleague said to me privately after organizing a recent GFSI Focus Day together outside of Toronto. The event was over and we stood exhausted outside the empty convention hall and marveled at how nearly 400 Canadians came to learn more about GFSI. I congratulated Riza Ferouz of Sobey’s for his leadership in organizing the event along with Maple Leaf Foods. He accepted my kind words, and humbly replied that GFSI is something special and unique. It has made us all smarter and requires each of us to play at the top of our game all of the time. We’re all better for it.

GFSI is something special. Individual retailers and food companies have put aside their competitive differences and created something special that no single company could do alone: Enhancing food safety locally, regionally and, yes, even globally, and I am fortunate to represent GFSI and to hear about the successes of GFSI everyday.

I invite you to shed light on the GFSI efforts of your corporate food safety team and to tell me about your GFSI journey in this space. Write to me at k.kochenderfer@theconsumergoods forum.com. Be sure to correctly spell that email …and to introduce yourself to me at the next FDA or industry event. 

This post was written and contributed by:

Karil Kochenderfer
GFSI North American Representative



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