Many readers of this website know that the Global Harmonization Initiative (GHI) was created as a joint initiative of EFFoST and the International Division of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). This took place in 2004 during that year's IFT Annual Meeting. Since then, much has happened, such as the "formalisation" of GHI by developing a constitution and subsequent registration in Vienna, Austria as "Globale Harmonisierungs Initiative für Gesetze und Verordnungen im Bereich Lebensmittel" in 2007. The goal of GHI has not changed and still is "Achieving consensus on the science of food regulations and legislation to ensure the global availability of safe and wholesome food products for all consumers". The way GHI attempts to reach this goal is to develop scientific consensus documents about issues that form barriers to the movement of food and food products across borders. That is not just reflected in unwanted and scientifically unjustified differences in food safety regulations, but also in differences in methods of analysis and in the lack of education in food safety all over the world. Most people "know" about food safety, but have no clue what it really means. That is why GHI pays much attention to the development of materials suitable for training and education of everybody at all levels, from food handlers to food scientists and food regulators and - very importantly - in many languages. But there is much more information available on the GHI website, for example about the GHI working groups and books published for GHI by Elsevier.
Food safety regulations are often based on decades-old data that in many cases have been shown to be invalid. The EU, like many countries outside Europe, has spent billions of euros on research on food safety. The results of such research have been published, but results have rarely found their way into laws and regulations. Therefore, it was decided to organise the 1st GHI World Congress on Food Safety and Security, to take place in Leiden, The Netherlands, from 24 till 28 March 2019. You are invited to join the Congress, to meet colleagues and take part in the discussions about food safety, be it microbiological, chemical or genetic. Details and registration form can be found here.
Olga Martín-Belloso, President EFFoST
Huub Lelieveld, President of GHI