EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Connecting expertise across several colleges, Michigan State University is leading efforts to build international understanding of food safety in the interconnected food supply chains that stretch around the world. As a part of this work, Dr. Kevin Walker, Professor of MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine, is to lead a food safety study program commencing on May 7 for twenty-four senior government officials from China.
The program focuses on protecting public health through a more integrated approach to food safety in the 21st century. The application of science-based food safety standards will be featured as the delegation travels to locations in Geneva, Switzerland; Paris, France; Washington, D.C.; Minneapolis, Minn. and will conclude with a three-day visit to the MSU campus in East Lansing, Mich. on May 25-27.
"Food safety extends beyond any one company or country," said Walker. "It ultimately requires the private and public sectors to combine efforts, resources and knowledge towards a shared vision of food safety with more unified actions. The experiential learning approach taken by this initiative is designed to enable our Chinese participants to understand how others around the world achieve collective outcomes from shared values."
The Global Food Safety - China Program (GFS-CP) has benefited from support provided by Cargill, General Mills, Pfizer Animal Health and Danone who regard science-based standards, guidelines and recommendations as key to protecting public health and minimizing food-borne illness. Numerous intergovernmental and not-for-profit organizations along with many food-focused companies are also contributing expertise and in-kind support. In all, this delegation will interact with close to 100 different experts.
The GFS-CP is scheduled to commence in Geneva on Monday, May 9, with visits to the World Trade Organization, International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Nestle and Evian, where they will meet experts in international governance, standards, trade development, food safety and sustainability.
The program moves to Paris on Wednesday, May 11, until Tuesday, May 17. With participation from the European Commission, they will visit the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), DG Sanco and Danone, to study capacity building, collaboration, assessment methodologies, best practices, benchmarking, supply chain management and embark on plant study tours to facilities associated with Cargill, Danone, McKey and General Mills.
The program journeys to Washington D.C. on Wednesday, May 18, where food safety, including the linkages to animal health, will be discussed with regulatory agencies, stakeholders and related associations.
On Monday, May 23 the program transitions to Minneapolis to discuss food safety processes through facility tours and panel discussions with industry leaders provided by Cargill, General Mills, Danone and McDonald's Corporation.
The final leg of the program begins on Wednesday, May 25, when the delegation arrives at MSU's campus in East Lansing. The group will discuss collaborative issues between the federal government, state government and business in terms of partnerships, research, education and training. The program concludes on Friday, May 27, with reflections, summarizing of insights and discussions on how best to apply practices back in China.
"This program has one primary theme," states Walker. "Food safety in a global world requires all of us - consumers, industry and governments - to continually work together in shared space that improves public health."
Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 131,000 people in 66 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit www.cargill.com.
About General Mills
One of the world's leading food companies, General Mills operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Yoplait, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2010 global net sales of US$16 billion, including the company's $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.
One of the fastest-growing food companies in the world, Danone is present in over 120 countries on five continents. Its mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. In 2010 Danone had more than 160 production plants and around 100,000 employees, generating sales of euro 17 billion, of which half were in emerging markets. The group holds top positions in healthy food through four businesses: it ranks no. 1 worldwide in Fresh Dairy Products, no. 2 in Bottled Water and Baby Nutrition, and is Europe's no. 1 Medical Nutrition company. Listed on Euronext Paris, Danone is a component stock of leading social responsibility indexes including the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes DJSI Stoxx and DJSI World, ASPI Eurozone and the Ethibel Sustainability Index.