The global food companies such as Cargill, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Danone, Tesco, Metro Group and Amazon attended together in India to work with the government, the regulator and academia to ensure food safety. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), which is managed by France-headquartered international trade corporation Consumer Goods Forum, is planning to establish an Indian panel.
“India will be the seventh Local group of GFSI that we are aiming to formalize early on next year,” said Mike Robach, chairman of the board of directors, GFSI. The core team of the GFSI India wing, that will have 20-25 members to begin with, will have representative from most of the businesses that constitute the Panel of GFSI.
This will bring GFSI’s global techniques to India and mobilize the local food industry, besides interesting with the regulator and other government authorities regarding food safety issues and procedures followed by companies, said Robach. Global food manufacturers want to avoid a fiasco like the one Nestle India Ltd, the neighborhood device of the Swiss packaged food machine Nestle SA, got to face in 2015 after the regulator Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI) declared a countrywide ban on Maggi Noodles over safety concerns.
Having a local wing in India is not common practice among global industry-specific lobby groups. Other industry-specific lobbies, such as GSMA that lobbies for cellular operators worldwide, have staff in India however, not a formal India wing. India is one of the fastest growing market segments for packed goods. In 2015, cumulative earnings of fast paced consumer goods businesses in India was about $47.3 billion, which is expected to cross $103 billion in 2020, corresponding to data by general market research firm Statista.
GFSI, which was setup under Belgian Regulation in-may in 2000, works on enhancing food safe practices management systems across the world. The concept of local categories is part of GFSI’s intend to put into action its global strategy at an local level and exchange local knowledge with the global team. At present, GFSI has six local groups–South Latin America, Mexico, Japan, China, European countries and US-Canada.
GFSI comprises leading food safety experts in retail, developing and food service companies, as well as international organizations, governments, academia and service providers to the global food industry, said Robach, who is also vice-president (corporate food security, quality and regulatory) at Cargill Inc.
GFSI’s global board includes reps from food and food retail firms. Besides the panel, GFSI has specialized working communities and bench marking market leaders who help improving food protection management systems globally.
“In India, we’ll have a team of 20-25 users who’ll be representatives from our member companies globally. Besides, we’ll leverage systems and knowledge of local industry organizations,” said the GFSI chairman. GFSI has performed talks with FSSAI and industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) regarding development of GFSI’s India wing.