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New initiative aims at safer food imports -- at the source, not our border
Date:5/21/2010

COLLEGE PARK, Md. A new public-private initiative will advance the U.S. strategy of defending against contaminated food imports at the source, rather than the border.

The University of Maryland and the Waters Corporation (NYSE: WAT) will build and operate the first U.S.-based laboratory for training foreign food producers an important step to increase the foreign scientific capacity needed to uncover contamination before commodities ship. At the new facility, they'll be taught U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved microbiological and chemical analytical procedures.

"Inspection at the border is not an option," says Jianghong Meng, who directs the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN), the University of Maryland-FDA center that will operate the lab and conduct the training. http://agnr.umd.edu/directory/Bio.cfm?ID=jmeng

"We import so much food from other countries that the FDA can only inspect about one percent of it," Meng explains. "The answer is to control contamination at the source."

The new facility the International Food Safety Training Laboratory (IFSTL) will teach an estimated 200 foreign food and government workers per year. It will be based in College Park at the University of Maryland, and is expected to open in July 2011.

With an investment valued at more than $4 million, the Waters Corporation will build and equip the facility and assist in designing the program. Waters is a major manufacturer of laboratory equipment used to detect and measure the presence of chemical contaminants in food. Its investment is an essential driving force in the project. http://www.waters.com/

JIFSAN will be responsible for curriculum and training at IFSTL, and operate the lab as a self-supporting facility. http://jifsan.umd.edu

GROWING LEVELS OF FOOD IMPORTS

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Contact: Neil Tickner
ntickner@umd.edu
301-405-4622
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert  

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