March’s GFSI Global Food Safety Conference 2018 in Tokyo, Japan, has been hailed a great success, attracting more than 1,200 delegates from 52 countries.


The conference opened with a very special guest appearance, via video, by Japan’s Prime Minister, Mr. Shinzo Abe, who positioned the event as a natural expression of the country’s longstanding commitment to food safety.

During the event, SGS hosted a ‘Special Session’ and a panel of experts to explore the topic of Large Scale Events: Defending the Food Supply Chain: Challenges and Strategies.

Taking to the stage on March 8, Mr. Rei Minamitani, Assistant Manager, Food Certification, SGS was joined by three experts from Tokyo’s Food Defense Committee focusing on forthcoming large-scale events:

  • Ms. Kazuho Nagata, Director, Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery & Forestry (MAFF)
  • Mr. Manabu Akahane, Associate Professor, Nara Medical University, Department of Public Health, Health Management and Policy
  • Mr Kentaro Yamaguchi, Senior Researcher, Science and Safety Division, Mitsubishi Research Institute

The session provided an insight into the development of food defense guidelines and mitigation plans, highlighting the requirements and expectations for food suppliers and caterers.

During the session, the panel explored the background to Japan’s Food Defense Committee, and the requirements of the national food defense guidelines with specific focus on food defense and emergency coordination. This was supported by the introduction of relevant case studies, incidents of intentional adulteration, MAFF response and learnings, as well as an overview of the key challenges posed by large scale events.

The committee has worked hard to learn lessons and good practice from previous events – locally, as well as in the UK, US, Brazil and Japan – identifying key security measures and strategies in the process including:

  • Vendor certification programs
  • Cross docking facilities
  • Education for employees
  • Storage
  • Controls for chemical and toxin materials
  • 5S methodology

Building on the work already completed, 2018 sees the rollout of training for manufacturers, transporters and caterers, both online eLearning tools and face-to-face seminars.

GFSI Seafood

Seafood Special

On March 7, SGS’s Segment Manager for Seafood and Aquaculture, Cormac O’Sullivan, joined experts from across the industry to present the GFSI Food Safety Conference’s ‘Breakout Session’ on Aquaculture & Seafood.

Exploring the question of how farmed seafood certification programs deal with antibiotic residues, Cormac reviewed the origins of antibiotics in farmed seafood – common treatments and the infections that require them – and the impact their use is having on import refusals. Antibiotic residues accounted for some 28% of EU rejections and 20% of US rejections of aquaculture imports, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) in 2016.

The three main farmed seafood standards – Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), and GLOBALG.A.P. – all address the issue of antibiotic use and residues, with some common ground. All three require:

  • Veterinary prescriptions for antibiotic use
  • Full record-keeping of all treatments
  • Observation of withdrawal periods
  • No prophylactic use of medicines (with the exception of vaccines)

All three schemes take the issue seriously but have slightly tailored approaches. BAP, which has a defined list of antibiotics that must be tested, requires regular testing of finished products as part of the audit process. GLOBALG.A.P. requires risk assessments on likely contaminants and antibiotic use with corresponding testing. Testing is also required for unapproved medicines. ASC has species specific requirements, including a ban on the use of antibiotics in shrimp production and a ban on the use of any antibiotics critical for human use.

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