LRQA's 2016 GFSI Global Food Safety Conference Recap

A look back at the topics and themes that led the way in Berlin

The world’s premier food safety event took place earlier this month, with over 1,000 delegates from more than 60 countries taking part in Berlin during the 15th Global Food Safety Conference (GFSC). The theme for this year was ‘The Global Food Safety Vision: Making the Change’, with sharing knowledge and best practice leading the way, underpinned through presentations, workshops and interactive sessions in which most significant food safety risks and challenges facing the industry today were discussed.

One such hot topic this year was big data, which was covered in the first plenary session on Tuesday and also during the Future of Certification session hosted by Greenfence, which featured LRQA’s Global Marketing & Strategy Director, Duane Wood, who explained, “The combination of technology and data will enable us to provide greater transparency and in turn trust - not only for those organisations serving the global food supply chain, but pivotally, the end user.”

A poll displayed during the conference identified Auditor Competency as the most critical area for the GFSI to focus on over the next three years. Tim Ahn, LRQA’s Senior Manager Food Safety addressed the importance of auditor competency in his reflections on the conference; “We have built in programmes to train, to qualify, and to demonstrate that we do have competent assessors. But I think the piece that is missing is being able to demonstrate that outside of our own organisation – to demonstrate to these key stakeholders that we do have good programmes in place to assure that we only send the best assessors out.”

The 4th annual LRQA Client Dinner was held at the Bundestag, the German Parliament building, with over 60 of the most influential people in the world of food safety in attendance. Cargill, Mars, Coca-Cola, Amazon, Greenfence, Hershey, McCormick’s and ConAgra were among the organisations represented. A tour of the German Parliament was part of the evening as well as dinner overlooking the Brandenburg Gate.

LRQA’s interactive GFSI Conference Quiz proved to be a popular activity during the event, with over 100 delegates answering questions about the past 15 conferences. Yves Rey from Danone and Hugo Byrnes at Ahold achieved the highest scores. Photos of Yves, Hugo, and many of our other quiz participants along with other news from the conference can be found on LRQA’s Twitter and LinkedIn feeds. LRQA is proud to work with the GFSI and we look forward to participating in the conference in Houston in March 2017.