Collaboration with World Leading Food Safety Partners and Universities Inspire Mars GFSC Scientist to New Heights

11/05/2020

Gaynor Pengelly

Chongtao Ge is a Senior Research Manager at The Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC). Here, Chongtao shares insights on exciting new technologies that have the potential to detect pathogen outbreaks soonerand insights shared at the China International Food Safety and Quality (CIFSQ).

What inspires you most about working in food safety science at Mars?

I’m inspired to work for Mars because it is  taking the lead in food safety research, as evidenced by the creation of a dedicated scientific institute to tackle the ever-increasing threat of food safety challenges for the benefit of the consumer, stakeholders and society as a whole.

 I’m proud to work for a company that is driven by a higher sense of purpose and partners with regulators, academia, and even our competitors to help achieve our aim of helping to ensure safe food for all.  

The pre-competitive nature of our work at the Mars GFSC means we share data, critical insights and our scientific research and offer world class training facilities, to help raise the bar on food safety. 

I’m inspired by the exciting breakthroughs we are making in three critical areas of food safety: microbial risk (pathogens such as Salmonella and E.coli), mycotoxins (produced by fungi that devastate certain crops) and food integrity (food adulteration and fraud).

 
Please share a special anecdote or a particularly special memory from your time working in food safety science at Mars?

One memory I cherish is a visit from Mars leadership team in 2018. The commitment to quality and food safety shone through. It was an honor to meet senior leaders who took a great interest in  food safety science - their leadership and vision is one of the key reasons we opened the center in 2015. Our visitors were particularly interested in our research exploring ground-breaking technologies, such as whole genome sequencing (WGS), in partnership with Oxford Nanopore Technologies.

We gave them a tour of the laboratory and a demonstration to explain how this technology has the potential to more effectively identify foodborne pathogens that make food unsafe. 

WGS is a method used to capture and analyse all the information of the entire genome of an organism in one process. It provides a very precise DNA fingerprint that can help link food-borne pathogen cases to one another, allowing an outbreak to be detected and solved sooner.  

Mars’ passion for science and innovation inspires me to work hard to achieve scientific breakthroughs and fulfil our mission to ensure safe food for all.

If you had one wish for the Mars GFSC over the next five years, what would that be?

I would really like the Mars GFSC to be recognised as an international hub of global food safety research.  I believe we are already on our way. Take, for example, our work on the whole genome sequencing project; we have been invited to present at multiple conferences such as International Association of Food Protection 2020 annual meeting and the China International Food Safety & Quality Conference 2020, highlighting that our work is being recognized globally. These conferences have enabled me to contribute Mars GFSC expertise to current food safety challenges, so that we can help raise the bar in food safety research. I’m proud to be part of a team that works with global partners, including United Nations agencies and top academic institutions and universities. As our reputation grows, so too will our partnerships and collaborations. I’m excited to see what we can achieve together in the future.