Anita Scholte op Reimer on the Global Food Standards Initiative

Scholte, the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors at the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), and Senior Director of Quality Assurance and Product Sustainability, Albert Heijn - Royal Ahold, spoke on 'Global food safety: The role of the food industry' at the Insuring Food safety event at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue.

Read a text version of her interview here:

"There are many different food standards in the world. What GFSI does is we benchmark them. We benchmark them against our requirements. And if a standard is benchmarked in a positive way, we call it GFSI certified. This is for everybody, knowing that this standard is up to a certain level. In this way, we also encourage food safety standards to improve every time.

There are different standards for different parts of the supply chain. We have standards for the primary sectors of meat and fish and vegetables. We've also standards for the production facilities. We have standards for retail, for food service, so the supply chain is very wide, with very different parts in the supply chain.

One of the challenges we are seeing at the moment is auditor competency. How do we make sure, how do we guarantee that the auditor, who is checking the plant where the product is produced, let's say it's in the hands of the auditor to be sure that what he sees at that day, or in those two, three days, is applicable to the whole year. That's a big challenge we see at the moment.

Food has never been as safe as it is today, and I think it's good to acknowledge that. Well, to eat food is, is always taking a risk. There's never a guarantee that all the food is safe, but we have to make sure that every time we keep improving, and this is what I think these events are good for. Also, GFSI is working on this, and the more events on food safety, the more awareness there is in the whole supply chain."