By Jaan Koel | Friday, 25 January 2013
John Keogh looks at what he does as more of a mission than a job. He resides in Newmarket, Ontario, and last year he spent the bulk of his time traveling the world to brief and consult industry, government, inter-governmental agencies and a host of think tanks on the subjects of food safety, global food safety training, food security, traceability, food recalls, and anti-counterfeit programs.
Keogh started with GS1 Canada in the summer of 2008 as a senior Vice President before taking on a more complex global role in 2010. He is now part of the global extended leadership team at GS1 working out of the Brussels HQ in Belgium.
Much of his travels are to developing countries. That’s partly because the things we take for granted in regard to how food is sourced, handled, manufactured, packed, shipped, distributed, sold and traced in Canada, the US, and other developed nations are still in their infancy stages in places such as China, India, and Indonesia, to name a few. Part of his job is to encourage these and other countries like them to adopt best practices as well as global standards and protocols as quickly and effectively as possible.
Looking at food safety through a global lens, Keogh says global food safety training tops the list not only in importance, but also in the direction that things are trending. “Organizations and governments everywhere are recognizing the fact that food safety is as much or more about training as it is about machinery, infrastructure, tooling, recall procedures, and other factors,” he notes. “Training is proactive; it’s about developing a food safety culture in a company, and in society as a whole.”