Mexico is one of the most interesting countries in the world with regard to food. However, we face a number of challenges when it comes to food safety.
The continued work of the GFSI Mexico Local Group is tackling these challenges across a number of different projects in pursuit of the GFSI vision of safe food for consumers everywhere.
Celebrating the Work of GFSI’s Mexico Local Group
GFSI's Local Group in Mexico was founded in 2012. The goal of the Local Group is to improve best-practice sharing for food safety, increase consumer confidence in food safety and implement and promote the objectives and activities of GFSI in Mexico.
I am honored to have recently been elected as Chair of the GFSI Local Group in Mexico. As part of this new election process, two vice-chairs have also been appointed by the group. Occupying these positions are Jose Aurelio Calzada from Pilgrim's Mexico and Gerardo Cedillo from Bachoco Mexico.
GFSI's Mexico Local Group is currently working on the organization of the GFSI Focus Day Mexico, to be held on 3 May 2018. We are also working together with SENASICA (the Mexican National Service of Health, Food safety and Agro-Food Quality) to promote food safety actions in the country, and have made remarkable progress in the deployment of the strategic plan for Mexico.
As a Local Group, we are proud to be actively making significant advances and developing, among other things, a close relationship with the Mexican Government to promote the use of GFSI-recognized certification programmes.
The Local Group is currently formed of a Steering Committee and a series of subgroups. The Steering Committee benefits from the active participation of 16 companies based in Mexico. We currently have 4 subgroups in which over 31 organizations work together on advancing Capacity Building, Communications, Government Affairs and the Focus Day Organization.
Since its initiation, the Mexico Local Group has made significant efforts and achievements in a number of projects. Chief among these achievements is the Capacity Building projects where a number of organizations from the manufacturing, food service, Certificate Programme Owners (CPOs) and Certification Bodies came together to promote the implementation of the Global Markets Programme.
The Government Affairs group has approached our Mexican government entities in order to promote collaboration on food safety. A non-mandatory national standard is about to be finalized with the authorities in Mexico and will then be sent out for public consultation. All this has been supported and enhanced by the Communications team within the group.
We are delighted to announce that over 50% of the GFSI Local Group member companies require their upstream supply chain to participate in the Global Markets Programme.
The Future of Food Safety in Mexico
We are making good progress in capacity building, particularly through the Government Affairs activities. However, there is still more work to be done to engage more regulators and to contribute in the international regulation process for exports.
To achieve this, the Local Group must continue growing its relationship with the authorities. Together we can build and strengthen capabilities to ensure safer food for Mexicans and consumers abroad.
As for building capacities in food safety for the future, I hope to help increase GFSI’s active collaboration with the academic sector.
I have personally worked as a teacher with graduates and postgraduates and have seen there is a distinct lack of knowledge and understanding of Food Safety Management Systems. There is huge potential for collaboration with the academic programme developers at the main universities in Mexico to propose the inclusion of Food Safety Management Systems knowledge as GFSI certification programmes.
Working with academic institutions is a great opportunity for GFSI to become known to students from an early stage, well before they enter the food industry.
The new graduate and post-graduate community is the strength than Mexico requires to promote food safety best-practices for the future. This will be done through GFSI certification programmes for companies with less developed food safety systems.
All these opportunities can only be achieved with the support of all companies involved in the Steering Committee and participants for the subgroups.
I’d like to thank my predecessor, Paola López, for all her efforts and commitment during her mandate. In my new role, I am committed to increasing the GFSI representation within Mexico both now and for the future.
This post was written and contributed by:
Upstream Supply Chain Corporate Quality Manager