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.
So talking about green house gas and cost reduction, we did a good job yesterday!
The webinar covered several topics. Supply chain management, current and future concerns in the food chain, the current status of FSSC 22000 and the most important outcome of the GFSI Global Food Safety conference in Washington. There was a question and answer session at the end and I must say the questions were very good. It shows that the global food community is actively working on further improvement of assurance in the supply chain. And that Food Safety is still the most important concern but that also other issues like sustainability, social responsibility and security become more and more important. This shows that solutions like supply chain management and risk management are very important.
Tomorrow there is another challenge. The Wageningen University in the Netherlands, one of the world's leading Agricultural Universities, is organising a course for representatives of the (semi) public sector (most food authorities) of European countries that are not (yet) members of the European Union. There will be approx. 50 participants, from Albania, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine. The objective of this course is to exchange knowledge and experience on food safety systems in the broadest range. I have been asked to deliver a guest lecture with the title “Chain of Custody and private standards in the food supply chain”. This is very interesting and important for two reasons:
First of all most of these countries are emerging as supplier of food ingredients and food products. It is important to support them and share expertise and experience in how to achieve the necessary level of food safety assurance. And it is absolutely not only them learning from us, but also we learning from them!
Secondly there is a lot to win in the cooperation with Food Authorities with private standard owners, certification bodies and food manufacturers. Especially in the field of harmonization of standards and joining efforts in the multiple audits that are conducted at the moment. I am looking forward to meeting the representatives of these countries and to sharing experiences and knowledge and hope to learn a lot from them and their challenging emerging food markets.