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Food safety research ‘non-competitive’, says Nestlé

By Joe Whitworth+

27-Mar-2014

Nestlé has called food safety research ‘non- competitive’ as it opens a facility to tackle the issue in China.

The Nestlé Food Safety Institute (NFSI) will work with authorities to help provide scientific foundation for food safety policies and standards.

The NFSI is located in an existing Research and Development Centre in Beijing.

A Nestlé spokeswoman told FoodQualityNews.com that the firm started work on the strategy for the institute in July 2013.

We consider food safety research as non-competitive. Collaborations amongst researchers in China will further increase competence and insights will spread into the scientific/technical community in China," she said.

“We believe that local standards need to be considered in a global context. We would like to share our scientific understanding with the authorities that revise standards in China.”

Not yet full capacity

The spokeswoman added that it was not yet at full capacity but was working on projects related to methods for standards.

Food safety is the top priority for Nestlé, and in the top three concerns of the Chinese public.

“In a situation of strongly growing demand for safe and healthy food, and of a dynamic development of the scientific and regulatory landscape in China, Nestlé wants to further strengthen its scientific research activity in food safety in the country," she said. 

“China offers opportunities to collaborate with relevant academic and government institutions.”

Nestlé opened facilities in Lausanne, Switzerland last year which has certain sealed areas with access restricted to trained personnel who wear protective clothing and adhere to strict hygiene procedures.

Early management

The spokeswoman said that early management of food safety issues includes early awareness, risk assessments and action planning.

“Our global Early Warning Network consists of more than 100 experts tracking information and data with respect to potential issues in food safety using specialised IT tools,” she said.

“The information is shared through regular communications across the network. The team does risk assessments and escalates issues to management for priorisation and action.”

The NFSI was unveiled by Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke,D rChen Junshi of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Swiss Ambassador Jean-Jacques De Dardel.

Nestlé would not reveal specific technology in the centre, but said it uses equipment for chemical contaminants issues and research using fingerprinting technology.

The Nestlé Food Safety Management System is aligned with ISO 22000:2005 and Codex Alimentarius CAC RCP 1-1969 Rev. 4-2003.

“Beyond this, our Early Warning System, our strength in Analytical Sciences and our Expert Networks (Microbiological Safety, Early Warning, and Analytical Science) are important assets in handling food safety,” added the spokeswoman.

It will also be linked to 25 Quality Assurance Centres, the final stage of a food safety assurance system from when raw materials arrive in factories and continue through the production process.

Nestlé also has a research center in Lausanne, Switzerland, which employs over 200 scientists working on food safety and quality and whose facilities include 20 microbiology safety labs.

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