I am currently at theChina International Food Safety & Quality Conference (CIFSQ) in Shanghai. This is 6th annual conference and I am honoured to have attended and presented at the past three of them.
Being held over two days, there are over 700 delegates representing all of the major stakeholders from across the food supply chain. I have met with retailers, manufacturers, food authorities, certification and accreditation bodies and clearly, this event is seen as the most important food safety and quality conference in China.
Reflecting on the first day, what is obvious to me and my fellow delegates is that 'China gets food safety'. I have seen outstanding presentations from Chinese as well as international organisations. One of the highlights was the keynote address on "The Status of China Food Safety Risk Assessment" delivered by Xiumei Liu, Professor, Chinese National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment, Chair of the Programme Committee. A recurring message from the food authorities was that food safety is a very important topic in China and it will be very interesting to see how certification and audits can support this.
Globalisation of supply chain networks has triggered a sharp increase in the number of requests for certification and audits in China. The demand is based on both export and domestic manufacturing requirements from major international brands. I believe that another area where audits and certification support is of pivotal importance is the assurance of suppliers.
Also on the agenda, was a presentation by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), delivered by the Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr. Yves Rey. The GFSI is very active in China in promoting the GFSI approach of using recognised certification schemes such as FSSC 22000. The harmonisation of robust, food safety management system standards and schemes - which has been spearheaded by the GFSI and ISO - has delivered increased transparency and best practice sharing across sectors and geographies.
LRQA China (www.lrqa.com.cn) is a sponsor of the conference, with their booth (A14) being located in the main the exhibition area and attracting a great deal of interest.
Tomorrow I will deliver a presentation together with Chen Zhong, the Quality and Food Safety manager for Mars China. We will discuss how the Mars customised audit program helps to drive food safety across their supply chain. I am looking forward to this and keep watching for further updates.
Cor Groenveld is Global Head of Food Supply Chain Services at Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA)
For more information on LRQA’s food services, please visitwww.food.lrqa.comor connect with Cor on LinkedIn -nl.linkedin.com/in/corgroenveld