Michigan State University Announces a Mandarin Language Translation of the Food Fraud MOOC, Plus a 4th Regular Food Fraud MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

Written by: John Spink

Primary Source: Food Fraud Initiative

Dr. Spink with Frank Yiannas, VP of Food Safety at Walmart, at the 2013 GFSI China Focus Day (Beijing).

Dr. Spink with Frank Yiannas, VP of Food Safety at Walmart, at the 2013 GFSI China Focus Day (Beijing).


Contact: Dr. John Spink, Director & Assistant Professor, Food Fraud Initiative, Michigan State University, spinkj@msu.edu , www.FoodFraud.msu.edu , Phone: (517) 381-4491

East Lansing, MI:   Registration is now open for two of Michigan State University’s free Food Fraud MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course).  The first is a Mandarin language course to be held on August 5 and 12.  This translation was sponsored by the Walmart Food Safety Team.  Then on November 10 and 17 the 4th regular MOOC will be conducted.  

The MOOC has built upon MSU research, publications, and outreach to provide a highly regarded course that emphasizes prevention – specifically addressing the “biological organism” that happens to be a human, not Salmonella!  Over 2,000 people from 50+ countries have already participated in the first three MOOCs, and the course is promoted or distributed by many of the leading food industry organizations and agencies.  The research platform is based on the criminology concept of Situational Crime Prevention and rooted in the food safety fundamentals of HACCP-type programs.  The course is free and open to anyone with access to the internet.  Please consider participating in these Food Fraud MOOCs .


Please feel free to forward this invitation email.

• Food Fraud MOOC in Mandarin – August 5 and 21, Free, Online, Register here: http://msufoodfraudmooc.com/login/index.php
• Food Fraud MOOC in English, 4th Edition – November 10 and 18, Free, Online Register here: http://msufoodfraudmooc.com/login/index.php


In January 2013 Michigan State University created the Food Fraud Initiative to focus on this growing public health threat.  The teaching, research, and outreach build upon MSU’s strong history of serving the food industry and business in general.

The Food Fraud Initiative

Our mission is to leverage Michigan State University’s broad leadership position to protect the global and domestic food supply from Food Fraud vulnerability. We are a collaboration point for a wide range of stakeholders including industry, domestic and international agencies, associations, and other academics. Aligned with the Land Grant mission of MSU, we apply research, education, and outreach from theory to practical application with those stakeholders. The research forms the base for the development of new educational programs, and is also applied to evolving outreach engagements. Feedback from those outreach engagements provides insight and direction for our research.   One of those outreach engagements is the Food Fraud MOOC.

The MOOC is part of a continuum of courses and its content is aligned with other educational offerings, including our graduate course in Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection and the Graduate Certificate in Food Fraud Prevention.

What is a MOOC?

A MOOC is a massive open online course, a hot new development in open learning.  MOOCs invite large-scale participation and are free to anyone in the world via the web. The aim of universities offering these courses is to expand their reach beyond just the classroom to potentially millions of new students.

The Food Fraud MOOC is provided by MSU free to all interested parties across the supply chain and across the globe. The MOOC is a two-session, 2-hour webinar accompanied by assessment quizzes. The MOOC consists of readings and interaction starting a week in advance of the first, 2-hour live lecture.  The lecture will be recorded so participants can also watch it later.  The second live online lecture will be a week later.  Each week concludes with an online quiz assessment.  After successfully completing the second week’s assessment, participants will receive an MSU credential badge – this is a digital certificate of completion.  The digital badge will link back to MSU to authenticate the certificate as well as to define the scale and scope of the course.  Please click here to Register Now:  www.foodfraud.msu.edu/mooc.

“The industry support for the Food Fraud MOOC has been phenomenal,” stated Dr. Spink. “Many of the world’s food safety and food protection thought leaders are involved in our research.  We incorporate their insights into our research findings to provide a thorough and practical approach to Food Fraud Prevention.”

As more people become aware of the concept and the vulnerabilities of Food Fraud, they will also become more effective at not only intervention and response but also at prevention – the more participants in the MOOC, the safer our global food supply chain can be. The MOOC doesn’t just define the problem, it also focuses on prevention. This MOOC is positioned as a bridge between general webinars and more intensive programs such as the graduate course, graduate certificate, or even a Food Fraud focus in a Master’s degree.

The MOOC platform has been an incredible and effective way for us to educate a wide range of participants. The open source concept is a focus for academia and our MOOC is a successful example of translating academic
theory into practice.  Through the Food Fraud MOOC we’re able help globally harmonize the terminology and the focus on prevention.”

The updated content for the next MOOC reflects that global focus.

New content includes:

  • The UK Elliott Review on Food Fraud
  • The EU Referendum on Food Fraud
  • The GFSI’s incorporation of the Food Fraud concept  into their Guidance Document (standards)
  • ISO Technical Committee 247 on Fraud Countermeasures and Controls clearly defining product fraud and the fraud opportunity
  • Insight on the most recent public statements from the US FDA regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

Mandarin Language MOOC

We are pleased to have received a sponsorship from the Walmart Food Safety Team to translate our MOOC to the Mandarin language, focusing on our Chinese partners.  Walmart issued a global press release:

Walmart to Sponsor Food Fraud Prevention Online Course In China, PR Newswire, Walmart China,  June 29, 2014, http://finance.yahoo.com/news/walmart-sponsor-food-fraud-prevention-020000444.html

From the Walmart press release:

Frank Yiannas, Vice President of Food Safety for Walmart said, “At Walmart, we take the issue of food fraud very seriously. Because prevention of food fraud is a shared responsibility and education is a key to deterrence, Walmart is delighted to be able to help Michigan State University make the course more broadly available to regulatory officials, industry professionals, consumers and other stakeholders in China.”

Dr. Spink said, “We are grateful for forward-thinking companies like Walmart who are working, and investing in, improving the safety of the world’s foods.”  He elaborated that, “When we rapidly expand the education and awareness-building at this early stage in the development of the science, we can more efficiently establish a starting point and trajectory of our actions.”

“Food fraud has been recognized as a common challenge not only for retailers but also the whole supply chain,” Walmart China Chief Compliance Office Paul Gallemore said.  “As the largest retailer in the world, Walmart intends to leverage global food safety expertise and best practices to help our suppliers address the problem together in order to provide even greater assurance of food product quality, authenticity and safety to our customers.”

Please join us in creating a public forum and expanding awareness of the Food Fraud vulnerability. By participating in the MOOC you demonstrate that this concept is vital to your organization. By forwarding this information to your colleagues around the world you help build harmonization of terms and the prevention focus. By engaging us as a research partner you will help advance the discipline of Food Fraud. JWS.

Contact: Dr. John Spink, Director & Assistant Professor, Food Fraud Initiative, Michigan State University, spinkj@msu.edu , www.FoodFraud.msu.edu , Phone: (517) 381-4491.


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John Spink
Dr. Spink has been focused on product fraud since the Michigan State University’s Food Safety Program and the School of Packaging began research on the topic in 2006. This work expanded to the behavioral sciences and criminology and led to the establishment of the Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection Initiative in 2008. In 2009 the work shifted to the School of Criminal Justice where the Initiative evolved into a Program.