The inaugural session was chaired by Gwarega Mangozhe, CEO of CGCSA who opened the event by highlighting that access to good and safe food is every consumer’s right. Food systems are complex, fragmented and in many cases, dominated by emerging suppliers, which presents both challenges as well as opportunities for a nation. He praised the work being carried out under the auspices of CGCSA’s FSI that brings together the South African food industry. Their work in implementing the Global Markets Capacity Building Programme has demonstrated their support of their suppliers in improving food safety standards to gain access to local and international markets. 

JOHANNESBURG, 11th September 2013 – 250 food safety executives from South Africa and surrounding countries gathered today in Johannesburg for the region’s first ever GFSI Focus Day. With the support of The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA), this one-day event served as a platform for the launch of the Global Markets Capacity Building Programme within the region, facilitated the sharing of views about current food safety trends and provided extensive networking opportunities with industry peers. 
This particular Focus Day had a unique format, focusing on how the GFSI Global Markets Programme for manufacturing and primary production has been used as the basis for capacity building efforts in South Africa and surrounding regions. The food safety experts from South African retail and wholesale companies that make up CGCSA’s Food Safety Initiative (FSI) have been collaborating over the past two years to localise the requirements in the Global Markets documentation so that the programme can be implemented amongst their supplier bases. 
Yves Rey, GFSI Board Chair and Corporate Quality General Manager, Danone added that as our global food system is more complex than ever before, we must embrace a vision where food safety is applied every step of the way from farm to table. Science-based food safety standards facilitate global trade, but whether we are working locally, nationally or globally, food safety must never be used as a competitive advantage. 
Jerry Modiba, Senior Legal Advisor of the National Consumer Commission (NCC) commented that the mission of the NCC resonates with the core values of the GFSI, and that both organisations are ultimately working towards the protection of public health. To achieve this, collaboration between the government and the food industry is vital. 
To close the inaugural session, Malose Daniel Matlala, Deputy Director, Inter-Agency Liaison and Regulatory Nutrition of the Department of Health gave an overview of the food safety landscape in Africa. With an estimated 901.4 million people to feed across the continent, food security and food safety go hand in hand. While many African countries have their own food legislation and standards, they are often fragmented in the way they are implemented. He underlined the need for resources to establish national food safety control systems that apply to both formal and informal sectors such as street vendors and address the challenges they face. 
A full overview of the GFSI Focus Day South Africa will be featured in the next GFSI Newsletter. 
The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a business-driven initiative for the continuous improvement of food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide. GFSI was launched in 2000 following a number of food safety crises when consumer confidence was at an all-time low. Its collaborative approach to food safety brings together some of the world’s leading food safety experts from retailer, manufacturer and food service companies, service providers associated with the food supply chain, international organizations, academia and government at Technical Working Group and Stakeholder meetings, conferences and regional events to share knowledge and promote a harmonized approach to managing food safety across the industry. 
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GFSI is managed by the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global, parity-based industry network, driven by its members. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of over 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers and other stakeholders across 70 countries and reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Forum member companies have combined sales of EUR 2.5 trillion. Their retailer and manufacturer members directly employ nearly 10 million people with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. 
The Forum, through its vision “Better lives through better business”, has been given a mandate by its members to develop common positions on key strategic and operational issues affecting the consumer goods business, with a strong focus on non-competitively sensitive process improvement. The Forum’s success is driven by the active participation of the key players in the sector, who together develop and lead the implementation of best practices along the value chain. 
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Edgard Nemorin 
Marketing & Communications Coordinator