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Representatives of the food, beverage, and consumer packaged goods industry gathered yesterday in Washington for what the Grocery Manufacturers Association calls a “landmark” summit on import safety, co-sponsored by the GMA and 11 other industry trade groups.
Among the over 400 attendees at the unprecedented event were participants from various manufacturing sectors, retail, congressional offices, federal regulatory agencies, and academia.
“This summit is about strength in numbers,” said GMA president and c.e.o. Cal Dooley. “By collaborating with multiple industries to share new information and past experiences, the makers and sellers of consumer products can better serve the public by enhancing the safety of the goods and services we provide, regardless of where they are made.”
The summit began with a keynote address from Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt, followed by a c.e.o. panel moderated by Leavitt, in which GMA chairman Douglas R. Conant, Campbell Soup Co. president and c.e.o., took part. Dooley later moderated an in-depth discussion on the unique safety and supply chain challenges of the food industry, with emphasis on voluntary third-party supplier audit schemes. Additional panel topics were medical products, consumer products, and independent certification programs.
“If we are going to satisfy consumer demand for choice, variety and affordability, an expanded supplier network is essential,” added Dooley. “[Yesterday’s] summit is just one example of how GMA member companies are constantly reviewing these networks and searching for new ways to maintain even tighter controls over them.”