Mars Global Food Safety Center hosted a global symposium to Advance Collaborations in Food Safety Science

From April 18 to 20, 2016, the Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC) in Beijing held an international science symposium themed “Uncommon Collaborations and the Future of Food Safety Science”. The event was the first symposium to be held since the center’s official opening last September.

The symposium’s goal was to bring together a global group of food safety experts to share current research, identify food safety challenges, and discuss opportunities for collaboration between industry, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and academia that can change the current food safety paradigms and drive towards the provision of safer food for the world.

Food safety is one of the fundamentals of food security – defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization as when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food – and is an area of public health relevant to everybody on the planet. New threats to food safety are constantly emerging through many factors including changes in agricultural practices and food production, changes to the environment, and increasing globalization of supply chains. Research in food safety science is thus critical to better manage both known food safety threats and those that will emerge in the future.

During the symposium, Mars’ current food safety research was shared by a number of collaborators and partners as part of the  commitment to sharing food safety knowledge. Key discussions focused on research in the areas of mycotoxin management, pathogen management and the applications of big data to food safety.  Regulatory frameworks in food safety were also discussed.  . The symposium also explored how collaborations contribute to safer food in the world and generated insights and perspectives into food safety priorities for the next few years and the potential of advancements in science for improving food safety.

One conclusion reached by participants at the symposium including food safety scientists and big data experts was that food safety is too important to be left just to the food safety scientists - it requires an integrated approach.

“The Mars GFSC is proud to bring together different stakeholders across the entire industry chain to explore solutions to this critical issue,” said Peter Markwell who led the organizing team. “We seek to promote and deepen collaboration with partners across academia, government and NGOs, as we work together towards our common goal of ensuring safe and nutritious food for generations to come.”
Bob Baker, Director of the GFSC and Head of Technical Food Safety Development said, “The symposium was a great initiative that served as a valuable platform for global experts to jointly explore solutions for advancing global food safety. It is the common responsibility of the entire industry to enhance food safety, and we look forward to moving our conversations and ideas forward with other like-minded organizations after the symposium.”
Contributing to the advancement of food safety is a long held commitment of Mars. With a focus on knowledge capture, generation and sharing, the Mars GFSC conducts pre-competitive food safety research and training to increase industry understanding of food safety management and elevate global food safety standards.