Written by: John Spink
Primary Source: Food Fraud Initiative
While in Shenzhen and Beijing presenting to several government agencies last month, we awarded several Chinese colleagues with our “Share the Puck” Valued Partner Award. Leading their team is Dr. Yongning Wu, the Chief Scientist for the Chinese National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA).
Our MSU Food Fraud Initiative (FFI) recognizes key partners with our “Share the Puck” award. In hockey this term means to work together to score a goal. To efficiently and effectively advance Food Fraud research it has required – and will continue to require – that we all work together. The collaboration has been from across academia and from the four corners of the globe. These hockey pucks are Michigan State University Big Ten College Hockey official game pucks, bearing both the team logo and the FFI Valued Partner award badge.
CFSA – Dr. Yongning Wu
The Valued Partner award not only recognizes interaction but also accomplishment. Beyond presentations, we have been collaborating. Dr. Wu and I have been colleagues for several years since we met at a US Pharmacopeia Expert Panel on Food Ingredient Intentional Adulteration (the adulteration aspects of Food Fraud). At that first meeting I mentioned that I was going to the GFSI China Focus day in a month and he immediately invited me to speak on a conference panel he was chairing in Tianjin.
Our relationship expanded again when we co-authored, with his CFSA colleague Dr. Miao Hong, the recently accepted article “Introducing Food Fraud including translation and interpretation to Russian, Korean, and Chinese languages.” This will be published in Food Chemistry. which is a very prestigious academic Elsevier-published journal (the Scopus Journal Rating is 1.559, ISI impact factor is 3.259, it is the 9th out of 71 rated journals under “Chemistry, Applied” and 10th out of 123 in “Food Science & Technology”). We feel this article has the potential to make a great impact beyond academia since it is not just a translation of the English version, but also an interpretation led by expert teams from within work groups in Russia, Korea, and China. The article is also uniquely important for the co-author teams since it is a single source that provides a common foundational document for those three important neighboring trading partners.
Since its creation in 2011, the CFSA’s focus has been on “responsibility of providing technical support for food safety risk management covering the entire food supply chain” and also “serves to meet the scientific needs of innovative industrial development.” Under their clear and direct food safety mission it is a natural for the CFSA to expand from food adulterants to Food Fraud prevention. From their first “Responsibility” the preventative controls are consistent with “CFSA plays an important role in painting the whole picture of the situation of Chinese food safety, while improving Chinese food safety supervision and management capacity, and reducing systemic risk in food safety.” Their core focus is on traditional food safety issues, and the preventative approaches incorporated within HACCP principles are fairly straightforward to reducing the Food Fraud vulnerabilities.
CFSA – Dr. Xu Ru and Dr. Miao Hong
Throughout my trip I was hosted by Dr. Hong. We originally met a year earlier at a food safety conference in Korea. She is a co-author on our Food Chemistry article and we have been constant collaborators on a number of projects that should be announced in the next month or so. At CFSA she is the Deputy Director of the Food Chemistry Laboratory. My other CFSA colleague is Dr. Zu Ru who hosted me during a large group presentation. She is the CFSA Deputy Director in the Division of Science, Education & International Cooperation.
CNRIFFI/SCFF – Dr. Qiding
I originally met Dr. Zhong Qiding at the EU Food Integrity project conference in York, UK. He is the Vice-Director of the National Standardization Center for Food & Fermentation (SCFF). SCFF is within the China National Research Institute of Food and Fermentation Industries (CNRIFFI) which oversees several “service platforms” that are connected to Food Fraud prevention. While reducing fraud is important for encouraging all innovative research across China, this is an important primary focus area for the SCFF. A specific mission of SCFF is to specify and monitor food quality in China and they state a role of “product quality analysis including most of Chinese food industry fields.” In conjunction with CFSA, an important part of the CNRIFFI mission is supporting “food safety assurance technology and standardization technology.” As with CFSA, they have a strong commitment to education, training, and international exchanges. Food Fraud prevention would fit under their “Research Area” of “Standardization Technology for Food Quality and Food Safety Control.”
Renmin University Law School
I presented at the Renmin University Law School and was hosted by Deputy Dean Dr. Yang Dong and Department of Food Safety and Food Science Chairman Dr. Wang Zhigang. This was the first time to meet their food policy team so we don’t have any joint accomplishments… yet. We have already started talking about project ideas and I expect we will have a “Share the Puck” presentation in the near future. The colleagues from the Center for Coordination and Innovation of Food Safety Governance were very engaged when we were discussing Food Fraud prevention. The concepts are holistic, all-encompassing and now becoming universal.
I did a lot of talking on this week-long trip and over the five presentations… but I also did a lot of listening. I met a lot of senior researchers and leaders but, probably more important for all of us, I met a lot of young researchers and students. We joined as like-minded colleagues and scientists who are focused on protecting our individual and global food supply chain. Through the lectures and long discussions we increased our mutual understanding of Food Fraud, as well as the challenges of an international collaboration focused on prevention. Engaging these “grand challenges” is the ultimate vision of our MSU research.
Our MSU Food Fraud Initiative has a mission to “collaborate broadly and lead where efficient and appropriate.” We strongly believe that through collaboration we will all achieve higher goals and greater achievements. We also feel it is important to step back and take time to thank our colleagues… and also have some fun along the way. As we are all facing many challenges of cutting a new path in a new research field, I have personally already received tremendous rewards from interacting with great colleagues on the journey. I am truly grateful for these colleagues. When we “share the puck” we all have a higher potential to reach our goals. JWS.