Friday, 26 February 2010

Interview with Catherine Francois - Director Food Safety Programmes - Consumer Goods Forum

Catherine Francois is the Director Food Safety Programmes for the Consumer Goods Forum. Catherine is one of the food sector’s most influential figures in the area of food standards and schemes. She has played an integral part in the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) work on harmonising global food safety guidelines. We talked to her yesterday on some of the key food safety issues.

The podcast interview with Catherine can be listened to or downloaded here

Catherine started off by telling us some of the history behind the GFSI

Back in the year 2000, food safety was very much top of mind with consumers around the world, there had been a whole series of several high profile recalls, quarantines, and a lot of negative publicity in addition to food safety scares, such as BSE, dioxins and that sort of thing. The GFSI is actually managed by the Consumer Goods Forum, which is an international food business association working with retailers and manufacturers from around the world, and their CEO’s really took the decision that consumer trust needed to be strengthened, it needed to be maintained and at the same time the supply chain needed to be made safer and they saw the ideal way to do that was through the harmonisation of food safety standards, which could at the same time could also drive cost efficiency for businesses in the supply chain, and that’s really why the Global Food Safety Initiative was created back in 2000.
She also talked about the process that the GFSI has gone through in harmonising the world’s multiple food safety standards and schemes

Thursday, 25 February 2010

An Integrated Approach to the Food Sector

One of the largest global food organisations is pioneering a change in the sector. With many food companies focussing all of their energy, resources and time on food safety, this European giant is taking a holistic, integrated look at all of the issues that might impact on both the industry and on their business.

This global organisation started with their Quality Management System (QMS), rolling out ISO 9001 across their global operations. They followed that up by integrating their Environmental Management Systems (EMS) into their overall management system and gaining ISO 14001 certification across all of their global sites.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The Investment of Getting it Right vs. The Expense of Getting it Wrong

Scandal sells news. Tiger Woods and Toyota have filled our newspapers and screens over the past few weeks. The popular media highlight every detail and add rumour and intrigue at a dizzying rate, from news channels to late night interviews, through the constant retelling of the story. More and more in the past few years the same glare of scandal has been aimed at the food industry, and suppliers, processors and the service industries have come under scrutiny.
The food industry has probably never had such a critical audience. Scandal alarms us but also informs and as consumers we want to know that we and our families are bring protected. While the media alerts us to the big stories the smaller, less scandal filled details are also important. In February, LRQA Food Month, the USDA issued 7 recalls including concerns over salmonella in salami, E.Coli in 4.9 millions tons of beef and veal and potential allergens in soy flour.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Food Safety - Looking at the Regions

A lot of the global focus on food safety has been around the US and China over the last year. This post takes a look at the world's latest headlines on Food Safety - region by region.

Middle East

UAE Minister of Environment and Water Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad opened the fifth Dubai International Food Safety Conference with some startling facts, including
The World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that there are more than 250 different food-borne diseases, more than 30% of the world population is suffering from these diseases and proves fatal for 2.2 million people annually.
On what the UAE is doing to address food safety issues, he said,

Monday, 22 February 2010

Brazil and the Food Sector, one step at a time

For a long time the food and beverage industry has been seen as not interested in embracing management systems (MS)standards such as ISO 9001. Apparently, the reason behind could be the number of regulations they have to follow; which until not that much time ago has given the impression that controlling the quality of their products was enough to keep them in business.
It was only more recently that they started thinking about the potential damage to their brand reputation that food safety scares could cause.
Perhaps another reason which has convinced the food industry sector to consider adopting a management systems approach to help them keep their business under control is the fact that in order to be more competitive, food organisations started seeking different alternatives to traditional suppliers; some of them being used for decades.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Doing more with much less

When it comes to growth, many experts hope that Asia will pull the world out of recession. Surprisingly, not many people in the western world realize that Asia-Pacific’s annual population growth has fallen to 1.1%, the lowest rate among the world’s developing region according to the United Nations (UN).
Even with the falling birth rates and emigration, some Asian countries are struggling to feed the poor. Poverty and hunger may cause political instability and will slow down economic growth. The UN also noted that food stability will be a key issue to the Asian growth story.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

A Webinar and a Lecture

Yesterday I delivered a presentation in a Live webinar organised by LRQA. It was the third food safety webinar and this time we had even more attendees (with over 170 in total) then the previous one. With two sessions all time zones were covered so we had participants from around the globe.
I must say a webinar is always special. Knowing that so many people are listening without seeing or hearing them can make you nervous but on the other hand it is a great tool to provide information to a large group in a very convenient and cost effective manner.