By Damien Alexander, Asia Pacific Business Development Representative, SQFI
SQFI is committed to the success of certified sites and our business partners in the international markets we service, demonstrated by our history of investing in local support by our regional business development representatives as well as visits by SQFI leadership to Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and European customers and stakeholders.
In November 2023, we continued the SQFI tradition of visiting our international markets to build connections and encourage the adoption of world-class standards in food safety risk management at retail and across the supply chain. Members of the SQF leadership including, Gigi Vita, Leann Chuboff, and Carey Allen, visited Australia and New Zealand in November to visit with SQF-certified operations and business partners and hosted two successful in-person food safety conferences in Melbourne and Auckland.
The successful SQF Australia focus day and food safety conference held on November 14, 2023, was a culmination of efforts by our sponsors, our SQF Australia customer service lead, Umme Arsiwala, and our SQF Asia Pacific representative, Damien Alexander. We are grateful for the participation of our sponsors and supporters, speakers, and particularly the site host, CISRO, whose beautiful West Melbourne facility made this food safety conference an excellent venue.
A second conference in Auckland, New Zealand commenced just a few days later, hosted by the University of Auckland and sponsored by Mérieux. SQFI welcomed food safety leaders from retailers and global brands, academia, and government, as well as SQF certification body partners and consultants to speak. The sessions engaged the attendees in critical topic discussions affecting the industry, from cybersecurity, novel technologies, AI, and legal accountability in the management of supply chain risks.
Reconnecting with industry colleagues created new bonds of commitment to support excellence in food safety in the Australian and New Zealand food industry. The sustained commitment of the industry to attract and develop talent into food safety careers is critical for the region to stay on the leading edge of food safety standards. The engagement of students from Auckland University at the focus day and the new auditing internship initiative by AIFST support these efforts as we look forward to continued partnership with the industry to sustain food safety excellence through training and mentorship opportunities.
Global recognition of the SQF certificate is driving program growth in all markets. We are proud to play a role in protecting consumer health and providing opportunities for the growth of food businesses. New opportunities for international trade are facilitated by trust in the integrity of the SQF certification upheld by auditors and certification bodies participating in the independent accredited third-party certification system. We thank all our stakeholders and partners for your continued investment in high-quality and high-value SQF food safety certification.
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