To ensure food safety for thousands of athletes and sports fans from around the globe at the coming Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Japan group is targeting more than 6,000 food production sites to become certified according to a GFSI-recognised certification programme or to embark on GFSI’s Global Markets Programme, a pathway to certification, before the event.
The initiative is strongly supported by the Japanese government. “Food safety management based on scientific rationale is critically important. We anticipate a big contribution to food safety management systems by GFSI,” said Ken Saito, Japan’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The group’s priority is public-private collaboration for harmonization and improved food safety by means of GFSI’s two key tools, namely benchmarking and recognition of food safety certification programmes, and GFSI’s Global Markets Programme.
“These tools are the right solutions to help us achieve our food safety goals as an industry, as a country, and beyond,” said Katsuki Kishi, GFSI’s board member and chair of the Japan Local Group.
“Meanwhile, the certification programmes will improve Japanese market access internationally. We have a golden opportunity ahead to ensure that all food produced and purchased for the 2020 sporting event adheres to strong food safety standards, either certified to a GFSI-recognised certification programme or benefiting from GFSI’s capability building programme.”
The announcement comes at a time when consumer expectations for transparency and food safety are rapidly rising in Japan. Both the industry and regulators must evolve to meet new challenges, said GFSI’s Japan group, which recently held its seventh Focus Day.
Representatives from national government agencies who participated in the Focus Day took the stage to voice their hopes for increased collaboration with GFSI as the way forward for food safety in Japan. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), for example, presented the topic on Institutionalisation of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), while the Kochi Prefecture spoke on Kochi HACCP Harmonised with GFSI’s Global Markets Programme.
The Japan group said it welcomes these calls for increased collaboration and heightened use of GFSI tools, especially at a time when GFSI is scaling up efforts to enhance public-private partnerships as one of its current strategic objectives.
The group’s priority is public-private collaboration for harmonisation and improved food safety by means of GFSI’s two key tools, namely benchmarking and recognition of food safety certification programmes, and GFSI’s Global Markets Programme.