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MCLEAN, Va. & HUAIROU, China — Mars Inc. opened its Global Food Safety Center, a first-of-its-kind facility for pre-competitive research and training that seeks to raise global food safety standards through collaboration.
The center is intended to drive global focus on addressing the challenge of food safety, leading to better access, availability and nutrition, along with reduced food waste and an increase in the overall quality of life, according to the announcement.
Located north of Beijing in Huairou, China, the Mars Global Food Safety Center will employ approximately 30 associates working on food safety research and training, as well as a variety of sabbatical positions open to academic and regulatory researchers. Mars chose the location not only because of China's significant role in the global marketplace, but also to leverage the intensive scientific focus the region is bringing to food supply and safety issues today, the company said.
The facility will house analytical chemistry and microbiology laboratories, interactive training laboratories and a conference auditorium to enhance knowledge sharing.
"Food safety is a global issue that concerns us all — business, governments, academics and the world's population," stated Mars President and CEO Grant Reid. "Working together across all disciplines is the only way we can truly advance efforts at scale, with the ultimate goal of increasing access to safe nutrition for billions of people around the world."
Built upon decades of research, the Mars Global Food Safety Center is a $15-million investment in the company's ongoing commitment to working with world-leading experts to ensure the safety and security of food.
In 2014, Mars and the University of California-Davis jointly established the Innovation Institute for Food & Health to foster a new type of public-private partnership that catalyzes much needed innovation at the intersection of food, agricultural and health.
The Mars Global Food Safety Center will leverage insights and expertise from more than 60 Mars partnerships dedicated to innovative, sustainable and responsible food safety practices. Partner organizations include the World Food Programme, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa, and the IBM/Mars Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain.
"Unlike a [research and development] or innovation center focused on product development and improvement, the Mars Global Food Safety Center is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to advancing food safety research through collaboration and the pre-competitive sharing of information," said David Crean, vice president, corporate R&D at Mars. "We firmly believe that in order to ensure generations of families have access to safe and nutritious food, we must work together to evolve food safety management programs and create robust, sustainable supply chains."
The Mars Global Food Safety Center will promote the findings of its work through scientific forums and media platforms and events to help advance others' research efforts.