The Global Food Safety Initiative is delighted to welcome Rishi Banerjee as Senior Manager for the US and Canada. This is an important step in GFSI's ongoing strategy to further implementation at a regional level while advancing harmonisation at the global level. In this interview, Rishi shares his thoughts on joining this global community for food safety advancement and his goals for GFSI in the US and Canada.
How did you get involved with GFSI?
Well, I’ve worked in the food safety/food policy space for well over a decade (including government, trade association, and consulting) and have developed some incredible relationships along the way. I have always been generally familiar with GFSI and the critical role it plays in the supply chain. Recently, a former colleague actually shared with me the opportunity and it certainly sounded like a great fit for me, given my background. After some contemplation and due diligence, I decided it was worth pursuing and I’m thrilled everything worked out.
How has your experience been so far?
The past couple of months have been a whirlwind with GFSI board meetings, Local Group steering committee meetings, SIAL in Paris, and onboarding/orientation. It has been so great to learn about the inner workings of GFSI and how we add value to stakeholders - for example, the recently announced global Technical Working Group on preharvest handling of animals and aquaculture. Additionally, learning about how GFSI fits into the broader global priorities of The Consumer Goods Forum has also been very valuable. We have some incredible initiatives with some very talented people behind them!
What are you most excited about?
With the US/Canada region being so critical, I am truly excited about the potential for growth. I’m looking forward to building on the existing relationships we have with stakeholders and forging new ones. As the new Senior Manager, I’m excited to be the go-to person for the region, improving on operational efficiency. In doing so, I will be focused on tangible outcomes that the US/Canada local group is uniquely positioned to address like capacity building in developing markets through the Global Markets Program. I’m also excited to work in concert with our other regional managers in China, Japan, LatAm and Europe, particularly as we gather together for the GFSI Conference in Nice, France in February. I’m confident our coordinated efforts will have lasting impacts throughout the food safety community.
What are your goals for the US/Canada Local Group?
Although it’s still quite early in my tenure, there are several goals that I will be working towards. Chiefly, positioning GFSI as the trusted leader and partner for both public and private sectors for advancing food safety. To do this, we will be building a robust network of Local Group members, who will work on a variety of interesting and challenging food safety issues. As an example, we will soon be launching a local Technical Working Group to examine the food safety risks in E-Commerce - a rapidly growing sector. These kinds of projects will be incredible opportunities for food safety experts from the US and Canada to collaborate, network and develop policies that further advance food safety. Of course, working with the public sector is also pivotal. There are several strategic projects that are underway and hopefully we will have more to share on those soon.
In order to be successful, it will be imperative to continue to add value to local group members and drive engagement. It will be this cooperative and collaborative framework that allows us truly move the needle.
This post was written and contributed by:
GFSI Senior Manager, US/Canada
The Consumer Goods Forum