Chinese delegates tour state’s food safety systems

Local food companies play host to Chinese food safety delegates in hopes of obtaining consistent global food safety standards.

by Luke Feuerherm

Chinese delegates will spend three days in Minnesota meeting with local food organizations, regarding international food safety standards. The exchange was designed by the Global Initiative for Food Safety Leadership , an academic organization aimed at connecting public and private institutions across nations. âÄúWe need to learn how to communicate across boundaries, across cultures, across political barriers and economies. ItâÄôs about collective action to better solve the problems that face food safety globally,âÄù said Linda Valeri , a University of Minnesota professor and Chief Operating Officer at GIFSL. The three day excursion involves tours of food facilities and discussions with food safety leaders from both public and private sectors. Cargill, General Mills and Ecolab are all seeking to provide private sector insights to the delegation. Mike Robach , vice president for Corporate Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs at Cargill, explained his companyâÄôs involvement with GIFSL and the Chinese delegation as âÄúan attempt to correct the lack of consistency in food safety standards around the world.âÄù Globalization has provided further emphasis on a global standard in food safety, as well as increased international cooperation. âÄúEvery day you and I eat foods that come from 20 to 30 different countries,âÄù said University professor and GIFSL Executive Director Will Hueston . âÄúThis partnership helps us build and connect more broadly with food safety leaders around the world in advancing our shared goal of strengthening and improving food safety worldwide,âÄù said Mark Fryling , director of Quality and Regulatory Operations at General Mills. The arrival of the Chinese delegation Wednesday reflects the demand for an international homogeneity of food safety standards. The Chinese delegation hopes this program will help to supplement its status as a world food magnate. âÄúChina, the United States and Europe have a big role in feeding the world and the Chinese want to be seen as one of the highest quality and safest suppliers of food in the world,âÄù Hueston said. The delegation toured a General Mills facility Wednesday and itâÄôs next stop next will be a tour of an Ecolab development plant before finishing itâÄôs trip with a roundtable discussion at Cargill headquarters.