One is a public-private partnership with the China Nutrition and Health Food Association (CNHFA) as part of a joint commitment to providing safe food for consumers.
The second is with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) on an initiative for food safety capacity building in China and at a global level.
The third is with the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) on food safety development.
It said food safety is a global issue which needs to be addressed locally and called China a ‘key link’ in the global food safety chain.
All announcements were made at the 4th annual GFSI Focus Day China last week. China’s new food safety law came into effect in October.
GFSI partnership with the CNHFA
GFSI will work with the CNHFA, a national and non-profit social organisation, co-initiated by the Chinese food production and operation entities, scientific research institutes and inspection institutions, with the approval from the State Council and the Ministry of Civil Affairs and endorsed by China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA).
The collaboration is to encourage the improvement of food safety management systems locally to help globally.
GFSI and the CNHFA agreed to set up a network for sharing knowledge, resources and best practices between companies and authorities as well as developing capacity building and education.
They aim to establish self-disciplinary mechanisms, to introduce best-practices methods for food safety management with HACCP and to unify requirements between food purchasers and manufacturers through the development of standards of GFSI.
Capacity building work
GFSI and UNIDO will design food safety capacity building projects as public-private partnerships and mobilise resources for implementation.
They will join forces in establishing a public-private platform on food safety focusing on identified priority countries such as China.
GFSI and UNIDO will advocate for food safety as a shared responsibility and improve understanding of the importance of engagement of the industry to move forward.
“To overcome global food safety challenges, we need to bring together the public and private sector, academia and international organisations and jointly deliver global solutions.” said UNIDO Director General, LI Yong, at the Vienna Food Safety Forum where GFSI and UNIDO started the discussions.
“Over the past six years, projects have been implemented in Egypt, India, Malaysia and Ukraine, in partnership with a number of GFSI private sector company members such as Metro, AEON and Pick N Pay.”
The partnership builds on collaborations between GFSI and UNIDO since 2009, with capacity building projects in several countries due to the GFSI Global Markets Programme.
Cenk Curol, GFSI chairman, said: “Food operations worldwide are coming under increasing pressure to consistently deliver safe food in the face of growing demands and ever more complex supply chains.
“These challenges cannot be overcome without sweeping global partnerships and ambitious development programmes such as those put forward within this collaboration.”
Need for harmonisation and equivalence
The tie-up with CNCA aims to improve the general level of food safety in the country thanks to China HACCP Technical Equivalence.
The Chinese government is the first to approach GFSI and submit the national certification scheme to be assessed against GFSI requirements.
The China HACCP scheme has been judged to be equivalent with the GFSI technical requirements in the GFSI Guidance Document version 6.
Gurol said as emerging markets are crucially important it realisedit had to revisit the approach to certification.
“The GFSI Board is keen to develop a new long-term strategic approach with China that addresses the local situation and continues to lead the industry in this area.
“We believe that this new technical category of equivalence will open up opportunities and solutions beyond the current realm of private schemes.”
GFSI will also hold a focus day event this Thursday (12 November) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.