GFSI Conference to Advance Food Safety Goes Virtual for 1st Time

March 23-25 event aims to help build consumers’ trust in food they buy
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
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GFSI Conference to Advance Food Safety Goes Virtual for 1st Time
Attendees of the GFSI Conference will be able to create personalized virtual versions of themselves, which they can move around a 3D immersive site to meet and mingle with others.

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), part of The Consumer Goods Forum, will hold its annual GFSI Conference, taking place March 23-25 virtually for the first time due to the ongoing pandemic, as it continues its mission in ensuring safe food for consumers everywhere.

In the United States alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year roughly one in six Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.

The GFSI conference will explore the most urgent topics in food safety, from COVID-19, supply chain disruption and public health, to building trust and transparency with consumers, as well as best practices, innovations and technologies set to shape the future of food safety.

Following last year's event in Seattle, the theme of this year's virtual conference is “Rethink, Reset, Recharge,relfecting an unprecedented 12 months for the food and beverage industry.

“Collaboration to ensure safe food for consumers everywhere and sustainable food systems has never been more critical — and this event provides a major opportunity to learn from an unprecedented period and move forwards in the best possible way,” said Erica Sheward, director of GFSI. “We’re excited by the chance to help colleagues across the industry build on the ingenuity, resilience and dedication shown by the food industry over the past 12 months.”

The interactive three-day forum will convene hundreds of experts, decision-makers and innovators from more than 60 countries to share food safety best practices and encourage ongoing collaboration and action. Attendees will be able to create personalized virtual versions of themselves, which they can move around a 3D immersive site to meet and mingle with others — no matter where they are in the world.

“With the conference taking place virtually for the first time, it’s easier than ever before for food industry professionals to get involved — and we’re urging people from all corners of the globe to ensure they’re part of this unique and collaborative forum," said Sheward. "Food safety is everyone’s business, and we must continue to work together to build consumers’ trust in the food they buy.”

Senior leaders and experts from Amazon, HelloFresh, The Coca-Cola Co., Mars Inc., Cargill, Target, PepsiCo, Walmart, Queen’s University Belfast, Georgia University of Technology and the World Health Organization are among those delivering talks and presentations.

A few examples of sessions include:

  • Leading in Times of Crisis, with Dirk van de Put, chairman and CEO, Mondelēz International
  • The Evolution of E-Commerce: How COVID-19 has Impacted Food Safety Operations, including insights from Amazon’s Head of Food Safety EMEA
  • The Frontier of Food Safety: New Science, Discoveries and Innovations, with Mars Inc.
  • Doing the Right Thing: Food Safety Trust and Transparency, with the director general of Consumers International and the University of Oxford

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this year’s event also includes all-new sessions, such as "Ask GFSI" Q&A panels on the final day to give attendees the chance to put a wide range of topics directly to GFSI leadership to hear their views on key issues.

To register for the conference, visit

With a vision of safe food for consumers everywhere, food industry leaders created GFSI in 2000 to find collaborative solutions to collective concerns, notably to reduce food safety risks, audit duplication and costs while building trust throughout the supply chain. The GFSI community works on a volunteer basis and is composed of the world’s leading food safety experts from retail, manufacturing and foodservice companies, as well as international organizations, governments, academia and service providers to the global food industry.

GFSI is powered by the Paris-based Consumer Goods Forum, 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. 

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