Food Standards Keep the World Running

A World Food Safety Day commentary by experts Mark Fryling and Howard Popoola.
Jun 7, 2023 9:30 AM ET
GFSI Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Mark Fryling, left, with Howard Popoola,
GFSI Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Mark Fryling, left, with Howard Popoola,


Statement by Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Steering Committee Co-Chairs Mark Fryling and Howard Popoola on the occasion of World Food Safety Day celebrated today.

June 7, 2023 /3BL Media/ From farm or factory to the dinner table, the wellbeing of billions around the world depends upon food safety standards. But when we eat, how do we know those standards are followed and our food is safe?

That question should never have to be asked.

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a Coalition of Action from The Consumer Goods Forum, has a mission of safe food for people everywhere. GFSI addresses food safety by setting benchmarks for those producing, processing and selling food around the world. Codex standards form a key part of GFSI benchmarks as well as industry best practices shared among all in a pre-competitive form. For six decades, Codex standards have guided GFSI, governments and other stakeholders towards a path to safe food for everyone everywhere.

People in food safety work extremely hard to reach and uphold these standards and transform them into best practices, called “food safety management systems”, conscious that the wellbeing of millions depends upon doing their job well. When standards are absent or poorly respected, the consequences are grave. Foodborne diseases affect 1 in 10 people worldwide each year.

Those who make, distribute and sell food face a daunting task to uphold these standards in a world subject to all sorts of unforeseen events. Supply chain woes, fragile and limited energy sources, as well as cost hikes and little time or tools can make these standards hard to reach and maintain, especially for people in developing countries. That’s why the GFSI has just announced a Capability Building framework. It helps companies of all shapes and sizes build in-house capability no matter where they do business.

USAID sees the potential of the GFSI framework, partnering with us to help roll out the framework in Africa and other developing areas where compliance with standards remains weak. Food-related businesses, including women-owned firms and farms, will gain much, building up their knowhow. This will not just help reduce sickness and workdays lost, locally, but also improve the security of complex international supply chains as the global trade in food expands. The 1.4 billion people who call Africa home will notice when nutritious, abundant food keeps them not just alive, but healthy and safe.

As the world strives to end hunger, implementing high food standards everywhere will play a vital part in reducing suffering, and ensuring a better life for all.

Howard Popoola 
Co-Chair, GFSI Steering Committee; 
Vice President, Corporate Food Technology and Regulatory Compliance 
The Kroger Co.

Mark A. Fryling 
Co-Chair, GFSI Steering Committee; 
Vice President, Global Food Safety and Quality 
General Mills

Notes to editors: 

See the statement at the GFSI news room

About the Global Food Safety Initiative

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI; the Coalition) is a CEO-led Coalition of Action from The Consumer Goods Forum, bringing together 44 retailers and manufacturers and an extended food safety community to help oversee food safety standards for businesses and help provide access to safe food for people everywhere. As one of the world’s largest networks to help achieve safe food , GFSI is committed to making food safety everyone’s business and the Coalition members are addressing challenges facing food safety systems in their supply chains and the markets they operate in, and are helping to raise the food safety bar globally. Its ambition is to strengthen and harmonise food safety systems so they are able to feed the growing, global population and develop markets that can deliver food safely, no matter where in the world the consumer is. Learn more at:

For further information: Contact James Pieper, Senior Manager, Communications, GFSI, The Consumer Goods Forum, at or on +33 627 37 64 60.

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