Global Co-operation in the Field of Food Safety

​Last October, the disciplines of Food Chemistry and Food Development acted as a host for the Teaching and Training Exchange Programme in Food Quality and Safety.

This CIMO funded programme gathered together multiple actors from the field of food safety, from students and teachers to governmental authorities from Finland and China.

The Finnish participants in the Programme were teachers and students from the Universities of Turku and Helsinki and experts from EVIRA, Finnish Food Safety Authority, and EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority.

The Chinese experts came from the Peking University, China Agricultural University and Beijing Forestry University as well as from the China Food and Drug Administration and China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment.

The Food Chemistry and Food Development Unit at the Department of Biochemistry has collaborated with Chinese institutions for over twenty years, conducting many joint research projects and teacher exchanges especially with Peking University.

– The aim of all the participating universities is to conduct scientific research and offer research-based teaching. The course contained lectures on food safety and food law and teaching on food quality which is partly based on joint research projects of several participating units. Thus the participating universities work together in both teaching and research, tells Kaisa Linderborg, Professor of Molecular Food Sciences.

The teaching course was organized in two parts. The first part took place in China last summer and the second part was organised in Helsinki and Turku on 4-5 October.

– We had a similar project a couple of years ago. The special feature of this year’s project compared to the previous one was that now we have extended the scope of the exchange by including also doctoral candidates in the Programme in order to provide a more international perspective to the researcher training, explains Baoru Yang, Professor of Food Chemistry.

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Professors Kaisa Linderborg and Baoru Yang are pleased with the outcomes of the programme.

New Global Perspectives

The main topics of the Programme were food safety and food quality. The Programme seeks to enhance and diversify the co-operation of Finnish and Chinese universities in the field of food safety, quality and legislation.

– When we had a one-week course in China this summer, we spent a day in a large state-owned company, COFCO. So in addition to academia and authorities, also industry is heavily involved in and benefits from the Programme, says Yang.

She was very pleased to see that Finnish scientists were happy to have the opportunity to learn more about Chinese companies’ research interests and to discuss possible collaboration.

– What I think is special about this teaching and training Programme is that it was not only available to Master’s degree students and doctoral candidates, but also to speakers and participants from governmental authorities both from China and Finland, tells Linderborg.

Therefore, the Programme provides a more global perspective to food safety education and legislation in addition to the European one.

– For example, the Chinese food legislation is not easy to teach in a classroom by a Finn, and this way the students can get a more in-depth experience on what the food legislation is like in China. I’m sure it’s the same for the Chinese participants learning about the European food legislation from EFSA experts, Linderborg explains.

– It’s very useful for the authorities to see how things are organized in a different country, Yang adds.

Linderborg and Yang are sure that the co-operation will have positive long-term impacts in the relations between the two countries. They have already seen how the collaboration between and inside the two countries was enhanced during the projects.

 

Text and pictures: Saara Järviö

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Published date 11/8/2016 10:10 AM ,  Modified date 11/8/2016 10:17 AM

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