FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Contact: Dr. John Spink, Director & Assistant Professor, Food Fraud Initiative (FFI), Michigan State University, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.FoodFraud.msu.edu, Phone: (517) 381-4491
Dr. Spink was nominated and awarded the 2015-2016 Fellowship to be a Foreign Subject Matter Expert for the Chinese National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA). With a focus to “educate and train on food fraud prevention” he will begin by spending the month of August in China with CFSA. CFSA is the lead Chinese institution focusing on food adulteration testing. CFSA is also tasked with national Food Fraud policy and strategy development. This in an incredibly timely project since Chinese – and global – Food Fraud prevention laws and regulations are just being developed and implemented.
Foreign Subject Matter Expert Fellow
China has a State Agency of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) that manages support for major Chinese activities. Dr. Spink was nominated by CFSA and selected by SAFEA. The funding includes extensive travel support for multiple trips to China.
- Fellowship Scope: The overall scope of this engagement is to address Food Fraud Prevention with a specific focus on establishing a theoretical foundation, quantitative evaluation of the problem, and then provide information that will help CFSA and China with Food Fraud Prevention Policy recommendations.
“This fellowship is an incredible opportunity since it will enhance our current MSU research and outreach platform,” Spink stated. “There will be opportunities to teach a wide audience, from government officials, to Chinese industry, to University students. We plan on conducting a bi-lingual Food Fraud MOOC from CFSA headquarters.” The Fellowship focus area and projects are exactly the types of projects that we would be – and are – working on. “This fellowship allows us to get closer to our Chinese colleagues and to really advance not only our understanding of the challenge and activities in China but to accelerate and deepen our reach.”
“One of the greatest and most opportune moves of my career was in 2013, when I was enabled to shift my research focus from ‘all-products intellectual property right infringement’ to 100% focus on ‘Food Fraud prevention,’” Spink said. “It was so fortunate that I was able to switch Colleges back to my original academic home in the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the Food Safety Program. CVM Dean Christopher Brown and Food Safety Program Director Dr. Julie Funk were instrumental in the formation of the Food Fraud Initiative.” Among others, MSU’s Ian Gray was a key leader in solidifying the longer-term direction of this research at MSU. Spink further discussed that “This opportunity to spend so much time working directly with China with CFSA could be an opportunity to solidify ourselves on the global stage.”
Regarding the Fellowship, this is an annual award for 2015-2016 and includes a total of 45 days in China. The visits will be split into 30 days this August, and the plan is for another 15 days in November. The November trip will coincide with the GFSI China Focus Day (November 3, Beijing) and the Chinese Food Safety Conference (November 4-5, Beijing). Because the second trip is planned, MSU’s FFI has also scheduled the first bi-lingual English/ Mandarin MSU Food Fraud MOOC for November 2 & 6. Spink will present the English version and CFSA will present the Mandarin content.
Chinese Food Fraud Prevention
Food Fraud, and more broadly Food Safety, is a major concern and priority in China. The Chinese government recently approved a new Food Safety law that leads with criminal penalties – not just civil or regulatory fines. Incidents related to Food Safety and Food Fraud will be addressed in the criminal courts with criminal penalties.
The new Chinese food safety law was presented by high-ranking Chinse food government officials at the Food Safety Summit (two sessions convened and moderated by MSU’s Food Fraud Initiative) and at the IFT Conference. At the Food Safety Summit, CFSA Chief Science Officer Professor Yongning Wu presented the overall concepts in the law. To explain the hierarchy of all food risks they presented and cited the Food Risk Matrix from the Journal of Food Science article, Spink & Moyer (2011). Dr. Wu is a co-author on a recent Food Chemistry article which uses that figure as core theory. Earlier this month at the IFT Conference, the presentation of Professor Junshi Chen – considered the “Godfather of Food Safety in China” – emphasized a focus on Food Fraud since his title was “Strategies for Ensuring Food Safety of Chinese Products, Fight Against Food Fraud” – there is emphasis that Food Fraud is a core to not only reducing the economic threats but of Food Safety, itself. His first content slide used that same Food Risk Matrix concept.
The policy and strategy for Food Fraud prevention is clarifying and harmonizing. From the United Kingdom, the European Commission, through industry group such as GFSI, and now to China… Food Fraud is “on the plate.” This Fellowship is an example of global collaboration. Spink stated, “I’m excited to roll-up my sleeves and work closely with our Chinese counterparts. There is a tremendous opportunity to really advance Food Fraud prevention in China that will impact the world.” Get updates on this and other MSU Food Fraud Initiative activities by subscribing to the blog at www.FoodFraud.msu.edu.
Chinese National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA):
Chinese State Agency of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA):