As food safety professionals and scientists, we often are preoccupied checking equipment, reviewing lab stats and talking to suppliers and staff, and fail to share both our stories and successes. The same is true on an industry level with GFSI in Washington, D.C. and state capitals where casual reference to GFSI in the marketplace often triggers a blank stare among government regulators and legislators, who are similarly talking to one another in their own silo-ed conversations.
But, that’s changing.
Recently, GFSI developed materials to share with government officials and journalists covering the industry as well as for retailers and manufacturers to share with their suppliers who are learning about GFSI for the first time.
GFSI recently met with members of the National Restaurant Association who are interested in learning more about the new catering and food-service scope. GFSI also met with representatives of the Society of the Plastics Industry regarding the packaging scope, and with members of the American Bakers Association, too.
Readers of this blog probably know of other organizations that GFSI should be engaging. We want to recruit each of you as ‘global GFSI ambassadors” to share this information with your colleagues and suppliers as well as to help us identify other organizations we should be engaging.
We also want to encourage you to speak up as well. Materials are readily available on the GFSI website for you to step up to the microphone!
One organization that is by far more important to engage than others is the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
GFSI Board members have met with FDA Dep. Commissioner for Food Mike Taylor and his senior staff regarding the alignment between GFSI and the new U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Later this year, GFSI also intends to publish a study demonstrating that the requirements of GFSI and FSMA are closely aligned. And, furthermore, that GFSI is aligned with the food safety principles of the international food safety-standards setting body, the Codex Alimentarius. GFSI-recognized schemes have undertaken similar analyses with similar conclusions.
We hope our discussions and yours will lead FDA to formally conclude, as we do, that GFSI is a B2B FSMA operating in marketplace between customers and their suppliers helping to ensure “Safe Food for Consumers, Everywhere.” In fact, I hope you will join me at the upcoming FDA public hearings* and ask FDA about GFSI. Please introduce yourself. I look forward to seeing you there.
*Costa Mesa, California on June 7; Rutherford, New Jersey on June 15, and Detroit, Michigan on June 21.
This post was written and contributed by:
GFSI North American Representative