dispatches from GFSC 2016 in Berlin

GFSC round-up on Twitter: Reaction from the floor

A panel held on quality culture - led by Danone and featuring Nestlé. Wegmans, Accenture and Mondelez

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) brought together more than 1,000 food safety specialists from 60 countries in Berlin this week.

See the related news if you missed our Day 1 and Day 2 round-ups. Also we will publish interviews with Ecolab, Sealed Air Diversey, outgoing GFSI board member John Carter, Tetra Pak, InfinityQS and TUV SUD shortly. Further GFSI news will also be in the next few newsletters.

Below we give a glimpse into the Twitter reaction to the conference, key themes brought out by the speakers were globalisation, harmonistation of standards, food safety culture, big data and food fraud.

Any points missed let us know as we are always happy to hear about direction of future coverage.

GFSI has 77,000 factories and 150,000 farms certified to GFSI recognised schemes.

Attendees will now be taking what they learnt back to their companies and we will see if the issues will be the same or differently developed for 2017 in Houston, USA.

The future of pest control

Rentokil Initial said technology has changed the way pest control works - by sensing something sooner you use less poison, bait boxes and interventions in the food factory as anything brought into the factory is a contamination risk.

Gene White, technical director of Rentokil North America, talked about the role of using data but also the necessity to be physically on site to look at the things the data doesn't say.

He told attendees about PestNetOnline (also called My Rentokil) which looks at specific areas of the plant and can make trend reports to tie insects with a door being left open all the time, for example.

White said 22% of facilities in the food chain have some record of pest activity at any one time.

Birds made up just 2% of this figure but despite being low frequency were high risk due to carrying Salmonella.

Savvas Othon, group service innovation director for the firm, said informed decisions need to be made with data collected as a guess could cost millions.  

He said they often get asked to identify a pest with just a leg or a wing to work with which is where biogenetic identification is playing a part, to give the species of the animal from a 1mm sample and on site.

Othon said technology has moved from zapper units and glue boards where pieces of the insect could break off and get carried into the food product and encapsulation to demand for low energy, species specific and smart sensor technologies.

NSF International, SGS and Trace One held parallel sessions during the conference.

What is and how do you get a quality culture?

Christian Mahr, director QFS at Danone, chaired a session on quality culture with speakers including Mark Resink, corporate quality at Nestlé and Hugo Gutierrez, VP quality and regulatory compliance at The Hershey Company.

Resink said the behaviour of people inside the company was important to create a culture.

He said with 1 billion servings a day, each time is a moment of trust in the product, so it was relevant that every employee understands what they can do for quality.

Resink presented a survey with the CEB Quality Leadership board it conducted last year from which it gave feedback in market specific sessions to be included in 2016 OMPs.

He said the main drivers for quality control that were controllable were employee ownership, peer involvement, message credibility, best practice sharing and incentives.

Gutierrez said it has learned from others who have had recalls and searched internally for near misses.

He said changing the culture was one of the hardest things to do and described it as a 'journey' that takes time.

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