Global G.A.P’s Kristian Moeller has been crystal clear about the challenge of diverging standards, an accident in the making. “We talk about data harmonization, but we also need to talk about standards harmonization.” There are many ecological, climate and ethical standards for food already and many more continue to pop up. This will reduce farmers’ opportunities to do business with a variety of buyers. That is why Moeller says, “We need to start thinking and rethinking about how we share data.”

Standards harmonization needs a universal taxonomy guarded by an international body and a basic infrastructure to keep the game. However, that body must be a global authority with only public interests and accepted by the world community and its leaders. It cannot be owned by the interests of globally operating companies or standard setters. It is perhaps best described as having a no-body keep the game, as Foodlog’s Dick Veerman did. Official bodies have jurisdiction and can enforce; the no-body is just respected because it sides with rationality and does so in public space in the interest of all. Like roads and waterways, it should be an open sourced infrastructure to serve global public interest, not to dominate.

In the absence of a global authority that is aware of the powers unleashed by the digitization of food, can a no-body to guard the interests of the global community be created and will it be trusted?

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Mirjam Karmiggelt is CEO at GS1 Netherlands. As an independent, not-for-profit organization, GS1 develops international uniform standards for the identification, capturing and sharing of data. GS1 has been uniting supermarkets, hardware stores, hospitals and clothing stores, their suppliers and logistics providers for over forty years. Together with them, GS1 builds an efficient and reliable chain.

Karmiggelt is an experienced business manager with a proven track record in the Retail and Wholesale industry. She has a strong experience in mergers & acquisitions, omni-channel and digital organisations and operations.

Kristian Moeller is Managing Director of GLOBALG.A.P. and President of GLOBALG.A.P North America Inc. Based in Cologne, Germany but with team members all over the world, GLOBALG.A.P. develops assurance solutions for farms for the consumer supply chain, including certification standards, tailor-made farm assessments, capacity building projects for emerging markets and a consumer label.

The Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standards are GLOBALG.A.P’s most well-known and widely implemented standards, covering food safety, worker health and safety, the environment, traceability and animal welfare. After two decades of progress, more than 200,000 producers are now under IFA certification in 134 countries.

What’s In Store for Autumn and Winter?

Join us every last Tuesday of the month for our chats in the Digital Food series. Moderator Tiffany Tsui continues to talk with her guests and the audience about the challenges and opportunities the brave new food world digitization makes us enter. Save these dates.