One of the worst suspected alcoholic beverage poisoning incidents has claimed dozens of lives in Mexico. A possible cause may be tainted liquor from illegal bootleg sources; the suspicion is pointing to methanol as a contaminant, which can lead to blindness and even death. Due to the coronavirus crisis, some Mexican states banned alcohol production and sales, which may have promoted the sales of illicit alcoholic beverages. An Euromonitor report mentions that about 25% of alcohol beverages in developing markets are illicit and may endanger consumers’ health and lives.
There were several common threads during last week’s GFSI conference—collaboration to build stronger and more transparent food safety systems, international partnerships, and a global supply chain. This year’s event saw a record-breaking turnout, with nearly 1200 industry professionals from 54 countries in attendance.
For the first time, GFSI entered into a public-private partnership with the Mexican National Service of Health, Food safety and Agro-Food Quality (SENASICA) that will help the entities to reach the goal of continuous improvement in food safety management systems. GFSI and SENASICA will sign a letter of intent this week in Mexico City. The partnership will focus on enabling private schemes to act under Mexican regulation (in addition to the Certification of the official scheme) to increase the amount of officially certified products. The two entities will also work together to enhance Mexico’s Global Markets Programme. The hope is that the partnership will be a model for other countries and will promote the adoption of third-party certification that facilitates the harmonization of food safety systems and global requirements.
Other highlights included a G30 summit held by 30 countries to talk about food safety and international harmonization; the work between GFSI and Certification Programme Owners to improve auditor performance; and the first GFSI award, which went to Champion Petfoods.
During an FDA Town Hall at the 2015 Food Safety Consortium, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Watch video of Taylor’s speech: Part I and Part IIMedicine Michael Taylor was asked about implementation of the produce rule from the perspective of Mexico. Taylor touched on the partnership, announced about a year ago, between the United States and Mexico in recognition of the fact that working together will be the only way to move forward in verifying compliance with the new rule. “Our work with Mexico on produce safety is one of the most important things we’re doing right now in implementing FSMA,” said Taylor.
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