The Mars Global Food Safety Center Shares Food Safety and Sustainability Insights At Global Food Safety Conference In China

12/31/2019
2019 CIFSQ

Strengthening food safety through knowledge sharing, dialogue and collaboration’, was the key message at the annual China International Food Safety & Quality conference (CIFSQ), which took place on 30th to 31st October 2019 in Beijing, China.

The two-day event, which attracted around 700 delegates, provided a welcoming stage to individuals and organizations to contribute intellect, expertise, and innovative solutions around a diverse range of food safety issues and challenges.

The Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC) took part in two panel discussions and delivered four presentations at the annual conference, which hosts influential leaders shaping food safety standards and policies in China and the rest of the world.

Mars GFSC Director, Dr. Abigail Stevenson, joined a panel of high-level decision makers, including Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, and Markus Lipp, Senior Food Safety and Quality Officer from Mars partner The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In this first session: Achieving the Required Scale and Competency through Public Private Partnerships, panellists discussed ways in which stakeholders, operating at local, regional and global level, can work together in a coordinated way to address current and future food safety challenges.

Dr. Stevenson also took part in a second panel session with global organizations such as McDonalds, General Mills and Codex: Creative Ways to Achieve a Sustainable Future for Food, in which she spoke about the Mars Sustainable in a Generation plan and how food safety is an imperative to food security, enabling people to live happier and healthier lives.

Dr. Guangtao Zhang, Head of Research at the Mars GFSC and his team of research scientists, delivered a range of presentations focused on food safety capability building and sharing knowledge.

Dr. Zhang presented insights on food integrity and authenticity as well as sharing his perspective on allergen management. Dr. Chongtao Ge, Senior Research Manager at the Mars GFSC, presented a proof-of-concept study evaluating the Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) long-read sequencing platform for Salmonella serotype prediction, and research scientist Dr. Jason Xu, presented a GFSC study on Chinese geographical indications (GI) for rice which could aid food authentication in future.

Reflecting on the activities Dr. Stevenson said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to share the Mars vision on food safety, security and sustainability, as well as the important work we are doing at the Mars GFSC through a truly collaborative approach. Events such as these play a critical role in the sharing of information and the creation of a global, multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder approach that is truly sustainable, raising the bar in food safety for a better world tomorrow.”

Despite what the world knows about the importance of food safety, one in ten people on our planet suffer from unsafe food. Illness linked to unsafe food overloads healthcare systems and damages economies, trade and tourism. Every year over 420,000 people die and some 600 million people - almost one in ten in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food.  The impact of unsafe food costs low- and middle-income economies around $95billion in lost productivity each year.