Food Safety Coalition Adds Retail Members to Steering Committee

Important voices to aid in development of GFSI’s global strategy
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Food Safety Coalition Adds Retail Members to Steering Committee
Execs from Ahold Delhaize, Walmart, Amazon, General Mills, Magnit and Cargills have joined GFSI’s steering committee.

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), The Consumer Goods Forum’s Coalition of Action on food safety, has strengthened its steering committee by adding six industry experts, including several new retail members.

The new steering committee members will help shape the direction of the coalition and help deliver its mission of driving collaboration between retailers and manufacturers, and ensure an open and transparent relationship with key stakeholders.

The new members are:

  • Hugo Byrnes, VP product integrity, Ahold Delhaize
  • Mark Fryling, VP global food safety and quality, General Mills
  • Sara Mortimore, VP, global food safety, Walmart
  • Carletta Ooton, VP, product assurance, risk and security, Amazon
  • Natalia Somer, director of department of quality management system, Magnit
  • Nelum Vithana, manager corporate, product research and development, Cargills

“The Consumer Goods Forum is a parity-based organization where retailers and manufacturers have an equal voice on how our industry can work together on pre-competitive challenges like food safety. It was, therefore, critical that we corrected the imbalance by adding more retailers in this round of additions,” said Howard Popoola, VP – corporate food technology and regulatory compliance at The Kroger Co.and co-chair of the GFSI steering committee. “Some of the prospective retail members needed a little more time to get their applications in, so were unable to join initially, but we are delighted that they’ve now come through, as they are very important additions to the team.” 

The GFSI steering committee now consists of 23 experts from the world of food safety – 11 retailers and 12 manufacturers – who are also members of The Consumer Goods Forum.

“We are delighted with the number of applications we received, and, following a rigorous process, we have selected the very best who align with GFSI’s vision of safe food for people everywhere, and who are focused on raising the food safety bar globally,” said Roy Kirby, former global director – microbiology, food safety and toxicology at Chicago-based Mondelēz Internationaland co-chair of the GFSI steering committee. “It’s an important time for food safety, as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic continue to create more challenges that require even more impactful collaborations to overcome. We are very happy that we can now call on the skills and experiences of our new steering committee members, as well as those already on the team, to help us ensure everyone has access to safe food no matter where they are in the world.”

“As the world begins to pay attention to global agenda items like the UN Food Systems Summit and how food can be produced more sustainably, it’s important food safety be a part of that conversation,” added Erica Sheward, GFSI director at the Paris-based Consumer Goods Forum. “Food safety is critical to developing sustainable food systems, because if it’s not safe, it’s not food, and if it’s not food, it’s waste. The new members of the steering committee will bring valuable insights from their work and approaches in markets around the world, and I look forward to working with them as we play our part in building sustainable food systems and help shape a future where food safety is everyone’s business.”

Per GFSI’s governance rules, the steering committee will be open to receiving new applications every quarter, when prospective members will be assessed. Each steering committee member commits to supporting the three strategic priorities of GFSI: harmonizing and benchmarking of food safety certification programs, food safety capability building, and public/private partnership work.

GFSI is a CEO-led Coalition of Action, bringing together retailers, manufacturers and an extended food safety community to help oversee food safety standards for businesses and help provide access to safe food for people everywhere.

Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, operates more than 2,000 stores across 23 states and is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in the United StatesBentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 10,500 stores under 48 banners in 24 countries, and e-commerce websites. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100. Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100, while Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 3. 

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