GFSI welcomes new food safety experts to its steering committee

By: GFSi on 14 September 2021

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI; the Coalition), The Consumer Goods Forum’s Coalition of Action on food safety, is pleased to announce that 6 industry experts have been added to its Steering Committee. The additions, including adding several new retail members, will strengthen GFSI’s governance and help add important voices to the development of GFSI’s global strategy.

The new Steering Committee members, who 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, are:

- Hugo Byrnes, Vice President Product Integrity, Ahold Delhaize
Mark Fryling, Vice President Global Food Safety and Quality, General Mills
Sara Mortimore, Vice President, Global Food Safety, Walmart
Carletta Ooton, Vice President – Product Assurance, Risk and Security, Amazon
Natalia Somer, Director of Department of Quality Management System, Magnit
Nelum Vithana, Manager Corporate – Product Research & Development, Cargills

Roy Kirby, former Global Director – Microbiology, Food Safety and Toxicology, Mondel─ôz International, and Co-Chair of the GFSI Steering Committee said, “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. 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”.

Howard Popoola, Vice President – Corporate Food Technology and Regulatory Compliance at The Kroger Company, and Co-Chair of the GFSI Steering Committee said, “The Consumer Goods Forum is a parity-based organisation 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. 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 includes 23 experts from the world of food safety – including 11 retailers and 12 manufacturers – who are also members of The Consumer Goods Forum. Per GFSI’s Governance Rules, the Steering Committee will be open to receiving new applications every quarter, upon when the prospective members will be assessed. Each Steering Committee member commits to supporting the three strategic priorities of GFSI: harmonising and benchmarking of food safety certification programmes, food safety capability building and public-private partnership work.

Erica Sheward, GFSI Director, The Consumer Goods Forum, said, “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. 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”.

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