PARIS and TOKYO, 27th September 2017 – The Japan Local Group of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has set themselves a target of 2020, when Tokyo welcomes thousands of athletes and sports fans from around the world, for over 6,000 food production sites to become certified to a GFSI-recognised certification programme or to embark on GFSI’s Global Markets Programme, a pathway to certification.
This goal was one of the announcements made at the 7th GFSI Focus Day Japan, which gathered 400 food safety experts this month from private and public sectors under the theme Local Implementation and Global Harmonisation. The event, which benefited from unprecedented government support, marked yet another milestone for this local working group as they actively lead GFSI’s efforts for food safety advancement in Japan.
Katsuki Kishi, GFSI Board Member and Chair of the Japan Local Group, presented the group’s vision. He was clear that their priority is public-private collaboration for harmonisation and improved food safety by means of GFSI’s two key tools: 1) benchmarking and recognition of food safety certification programmes, and 2) GFSI’s Global Markets Programme. “These tools”, he stated, “are the right solutions to help us achieve our food safety goals as an industry, as a country and beyond. Meanwhile, they will improve Japanese market access internationally. We have a golden opportunity ahead to ensure that all food produced and purchased for the 2020 sporting event adheres to strong food safety standards, either certified to an GFSI-recognised certification programme or benefiting from GFSI’s capability building programme”.
This comes at a time when consumer expectations for transparency and food safety are rapidly rising in Japan and both the industry and regulators must evolve to meet new challenges. Representatives from national government entities enthusiastically participated in the Focus Day, taking the stage to voice their hopes for increased collaboration with GFSI as the way forward for food safety in Japan.
Ken Saito, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, made a historical speech saying “Food safety management based on scientific rationale is critically important. We anticipate a big contribution to food safety management systems by GFSI”.
Other government bodies also looked to the future of food safety in Japan, making a strong link with GFSI contributions. The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) presented the “Institutionalisation of HACCP” and the Kochi Prefecture presented “Kochi HACCP Harmonised with GFSI’s Global Markets Programme”.
These calls for increased collaboration and heightened use of GFSI tools are most welcome at a time when GFSI is scaling up efforts to enhance public-private partnerships as one of its current strategic objectives.
GFSI’s landmark capability building programme was at the heart of the Focus Day programme. The Global Markets Programme serves as the pathway to certification, guiding companies who lack or have underdeveloped food safety systems through a step-by-step improvement process.
As mandatory HACCP implementation by SMEs is one of the most urgent challenges in Japan, GFSI’s Global Markets Programme is seen as a tremendous tool to provide safer food for Japanese consumers and international market access for Japanese operations.
The annual GFSI conference is heading to Tokyo for its 17th edition, bringing 1,000 leaders from the global food industry under one roof from 5-8 March to advance the GFSI vision of safe food for consumers everywhere. This is the industry’s annual rendezvous, providing a space for knowledge-sharing, networking and gaining insights into the latest advances in science, technology and collaborative solutions being leveraged for food safety around the world.
The GFSI community has been working hard to set the scene for the Tokyo conference, and has sharply increased the volume of material available in Japanese, with the official GFSI website launched in Japanese during the Focus Day.
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