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In a keynote address at the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) public meeting on international food safety capacity building as it relates to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Mary Sophos, EVP of policy and strategic planning at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), discussed industry progress in improving food safety worldwide and explained how private- and public-sector cooperation is advancing the act’s implementation and making the food supply safer globally.
“GMA companies have redoubled their efforts to enhance supply chain management processes with a significant focus on training of workers and suppliers, particularly in Asia,” noted Sophos in her remarks. “Among other things, GMA companies are organizing ‘supplier schools’ to help ingredient suppliers improve food safety, sanitation and quality management; developing training programs focused on ‘farm-to-fork’ best practices, including proper food handling and storage; and increasing both third-party and company audits. Companies are working individually and in partnership to achieve these goals and are committed to developing training programs that are grounded in the same international food safety standards that serve as reference points for national regulatory systems.”
Added Sophos: “GMA has supported these goals by leveraging resources through innovative partnerships such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Partnership Training Institute Network (APEC-PTIN), which seeks to improve understanding and use of international standards and model practices in food safety management. The success of APEC-PTIN has led to the establishment of the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP), under the auspices of the World Bank. The GFSP and its accompanying trust fund are designed to bring together stakeholders with a role in food safety, including regulatory and trade authorities, aid agencies, agriculture, food manufacturing and others to promote capacity building to support good food safety practices.”
Observing that “[t]he food and beverage industry has a long history of innovation, scientific analysis, and evolving business processes to bring to public-private partnerships," she concluded that such alliances “are helping to build confidence and momentum toward our common goal of strengthening the safety and integrity of the food supply.”