GFSI Becomes CEO-Led Coalition of Action to Ensure Food Safety

Org reinvigorates approach to delivering vision of ‘safe food for consumers everywhere’
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
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Thirty-three Consumer Goods Forum members have joined the new Coalition of Action on Food Safety and will be governed by new steering committee.

After 20 years of existence, The Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is starting a new chapter as the CGF’s Coalition of Action on Food Safety to move with more agility and increased transparency. The announcement was made during the annual GFSI conference, which is being held virtually for the first time March 23-25.

“The CGF board has been clear in its ambition to drive change further and faster, and we have been working with them and our governance committee over the last 18 months to shake-up how our work is being undertaken,” said CGF Managing Director Wai-Chan Chan.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.”

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 600 million people around the world – almost one in 10 – fall ill after eating contaminated food each year. Concerns over food safety have also been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To tackle these issues, the coalition's members aim to strengthen and harmonize food safety systems so that they're able to feed the growing global population and develop markets that can deliver food safely, no matter where in the world the consumer is. 

The coalition will be led at the CGF-board level by Dirk Van de Put, chairman and CEO of Deerfield, Illinois-based Mondelēz International, and Danny Wegman, chairman of Rochester, New York-based Wegmans Food Markets, a 105-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina

Thirty-three retailers and manufacturers from the CGF membership were the first to sign up to the coalition, including Ahold Delhaize, Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Amazon, Costco, Target, Walmart and Wegmans. Further, as part of the new governance model, 18 members have been welcomed to an all-new steering committee. Their role will be to 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 GFSI steering committee members are: 

  • Barbara Masters, Tyson Foods 
  • Cliona Murphy, PepsiCo 
  • David Rasmussen, Kraft Heinz   
  • Gillian Kelleher, Wegmans Food Markets
  • Howard Popoola, The Kroger Co.
  • 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 Cos. Ltd.
  • Zoltan Sypposs, The Coca-Cola Co.

New applications will be reviewed to join the steering committee on a quarterly basis. Retail and manufacturing members of CGF are welcome to apply to be part of the CGF Coalition of Action on Food Safety. 

“My peers on the CGF board and I are proud of the direction GFSI is now taking, and we are confident the brand is in an even stronger position to build trust in food safety systems worldwide," said Van de Put. "Following a rigorous selection process, we have strong leadership guiding our industry’s efforts to ensure safe food for people everywhere. We are not done yet, however, and we look forward to further strengthening the steering committee in the months and years ahead.”

Underpinning the actions of the coalition is its Race to the Top Framework – a collection of initiatives to help drive continuous improvement in the food safety system. This reimagining of the GFSI strategy is supported by a coalition charter and will help its members to collaborate at scale and with other key stakeholders within the GFSI community, from farm to fork, to ensure transparency in the work they are doing and trust in the coalition’s outcomes. 

“We believe everyone has a right to safe food. However, we cannot achieve this alone," said Erica Sheward, GFSI director at CGF. "Food safety needs to be everyone’s business, and we must work together to build consumers’ trust in the food they buy. Collective action and engagement across the entire supply chain is critical to our success, so we welcome those who wish to engage and partner with us as we seek continuous improvement in food safety systems and management practices throughout the supply chain.” 

The Paris-based Consumer Goods Forum is a global parity-based industry network driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serve the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of 3.5 trillion euros and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. 

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