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Massey to facilitate global food safety initiative

Thursday, December 20, 2012
Massey to facilitate global food safety initiative

The World Bank has chosen Massey University to help lead a plan to improve international food safety.

The Global Food Safety Partnership is a public-private partnership aimed at increasing food safety capacity. It was launched at a conference in Paris last week.

Massey’s Professor of Agribusiness Hamish Gow, who earlier this year won a major international award for an open source food safety knowledge network he helped develop, will take up a leadership role within the multi-agency structure.

“The goal is to build a food safety system suitable for supporting the delivery of safe, affordable food for everyone, everywhere, all of the time,” Professor Gow says.

The partnership will utilise an open educational model that would enable individuals, firms, non-governmental organisations, governments and international agencies to collaborate.

Massey University will facilitate the working groups that will provide technical input and expertise into the design of the partnership and associated programmes. Ross Davies of the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology in the College of Sciences will act as project manager for Massey’s part of the initiative.

These working groups will cover the establishment of the open source platform (or information resource), an effective communications strategy and technical aspects including training materials, quality control, service provision and delivery systems.

“We need innovative solutions to share best practice, increase adoption, build capacity, lower delivery costs and more generally improve food safety systems across the developing world,” Professor Gow says.

“The science of food safety is already well established, what we need to do now is package that knowledge appropriately for food producers, manufacturers, retailers and distributors and consumers so it is relevant to them. It is not so much a scientific problem as a business development and community development problem.”

Massey's Assistant Vice-Chancellor Operations and University Registrar Stuart Morriss says the University is ideally positioned to facilitate this initiative. “We have proven our ability in leading major World Bank sponsored projects, having been successfully delivering the One Health project in Asia over the last three years. Our internationally recognised expertise in food and agriculture, trade policy and strategy, coupled with our leading position in distance learning has enabled us to secure a leadership role in what is going to be a major global project" he says. “This initiative provides significant opportunities for New Zealand, and has the potential to make a real difference to global food safety.”

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