Global Food Safety Initiative Evolves Into a 'Coalition' Within Consumer Goods Forum

April 27, 2021
The Global Food Safety Initiative and parent Consumer Goods Forum puts more control in the hands of food and grocery executives.

In March, the Consumer Goods Forum announced a slight but notable change for the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). While still to be known as GFSI to the outside world, within CGF it's being renamed the Coalition of Action on Food Safety, and it will be more controlled by food industry executives than before.

CGF itself has been evolving, but still calls itself "The only organization that brings consumer goods retailers and manufacturers together globally." While perhaps best known for its Global Food Safety Initiative, CGF now has eight "coalitions," on everything from supply chain to health & wellness to social & environmental sustainability. GFSI now is one of them "rather than a stand-alone project," CGF said in its announcement.

"Building on the GFSI’s 20 years of experience in helping drive the continuous improvement of food safety systems, the new coalition will continue to represent the food industry’s commitment to food safety and invest in voluntary advances for the benefit of people worldwide and the wider industry. However, the new coalition will also increase efforts to move with more agility and increased transparency."

The coalition will be led by Dirk Van de Put, chairman & CEO of Mondelēz International, and Danny Wegman, chairman of Wegmans Food Markets. 34 retailers and manufacturers from the CGF membership are the first to sign up for the coalition.

New steering committee members are:

  • Barbara Masters, Tyson Foods
  • Cliona Murphy, PepsiCo
  • David Rasmussen, Kraft Heinz
  • Gillian Kelleher, Wegmans
  • Howard Popoola, Kroger
  • Kazuaki Miyagishima, Aeon
  • Michael McDonald, Mars Inc.
  • Monique Pellegrino, Danone
  • Natalie Dyenson, Dole Food Co.
  • Natasha Matyasova, Nestlé
  • Pierre de Ginestel, Auchan
  • Ray Bowe, Musgrave
  • Roy Kirby, Mondelēz International
  • Sean Leighton, Cargill
  • Tom Wiester, Starbucks
  • Tracy Burton, Unilever
  • Vaneska Mattos, Loblaw Companies Ltd.
  • Zoltan Sypposs, Coca-Cola Co.

Current by-laws allow for up to 29 members on the Steering Committee, so new candidates will be considered quarterly.

All the changes follow an 18-month internal review, of both CGF overall and GFSI, as well as the first virtual GFSI Conference, which was held March 23-25.

GFSI does not provide food safety certification, but recognizes a number of certification program across the globe that meet the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements. Those include (most are better known by their acronyms) Safe Quality Foods Initiative (SQF), British Retail Consortium (BRC), Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC), International Features Standard (IFS) and a handful of others, many of which are targeted at specific product segments (red meat, seafood), agriculture or geography.

Retailers and other buyers around the world trust these GFSI-recognized manufacturing certifications as a mark of the highest standards in food safety, allowing food businesses that hold these certificates to access all corners of the global market.

"GFSI is the latest of our initiatives to become an official Coalition of Action, and we are excited to see how the new model and commitment to collaboration and transparency will help shape food safety across our industry for years to come," said Wai-Chan Chan, managing director of The Consumer Goods Forum.

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