China is a major supplier of food ingredients and products to the U.S. and Canada. However, food safety concerns for both Chinese and U.S. products have resulted in food recalls in recent years. To address these concerns, the University of Georgia held the fourth International Summit on Emerging Issues in Food Safety and Marketing.
The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences hosted 10 scientists from China and one from Taiwan, as well as several UGA food experts and students, for the summit which is a partnership between UGA, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Shanghai Ocean University. Each year, the summit is held at one of these institutions.
“This program provides a catalyst for increased collaboration and exchange by providing a forum for researchers, students and stakeholders to exchange knowledge and ideas related to food safety, trade and policy issues,” said Ed Kanemasu, CAES assistant dean and director of global programs. “We envision new collaboration in training on food safety issues and new opportunities for student exchange.”
Food exports from China have surged since its entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001. However, defective labeling, contamination and poor food safety have caused concern and sparked the recall of some food products. The summit focused on food safety and trade to ensure that food safety issues don’t hinder international trade.
Outbreaks of foodborne illnesses from fresh produce and ready-to-eat foods in the U.S. have led to new food safety laws, increased food-tracing technologies and greater scrutiny of imports.
The summit included discussions about new technology to decrease foodborne viruses, too, and postharvest quality techniques as well as pesticide applications and global food marketing.
“Our economies are so intertwined that we must find ways to work together. This begins with relationships,” said Scott Angle, CAES dean and director. “While the immediate purpose of the meeting is to share information, the relationships we are creating are just as valuable.”
Next year, the summit will be hosted by SHOU in Shanghai, when the university celebrates its 100-year anniversary.
(April R. Sorrow is a science writer with the University of Georgia Public Affairs Office.)