The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), University of Maryland, their Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the Waters Corp. have opened the International Food Safety Training Laboratory, a groundbreaking public-private partnership that applies government, university and private industry expertise and resources to the global food safety challenge.
The IFSTL (www.ifstl.org) is the world’s only permanent food safety lab that provides hands-on lab training on detection methods and classroom lessons on regulatory standards, educating governments and food exporters so they can ensure food is safe before it reaches the table. This will enable food safety standards to rise globally.
Food producers across the globe face an increasing challenge to ensure safe food supplies. As global food trade grows to nearly $1 trillion this year, triple what it was just 20 years ago, food safety regulations and technologies are evolving and consumer demand for safe, high-quality food continues to grow. Governments and food manufacturers around the world have sought the training the IFSTL provides, believing it is essential if we are to meet today’s food safety challenge.
Said Waters® EVP Art Caputo: “Waters is committed to improving the availability, quality and consistency of food safety testing capacity. We learned from our customers that there is a real need for help and support in understanding the diverse food safety technologies and standards that exist around the globe. Serving as a bridge between governments and industry, Waters approached the FDA and the university with the solution: a powerful public-private partnership that leverages the best expertise and resources to help build trust, collaboration and ensure the safety of our food.”
As a U.S.-based global company that delivers analytical solutions for governments and name-brand companies in 150 countries, Waters understands the challenges that governments around the world face to ensure safe food supplies.
The FDA has publicly identified the need for government and private industry to work together. The IFSTL will provide critical support to helping the FDA and foreign food producers meet requirements, such as the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law earlier this year.
Said Michael Landa, director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA: “FDA looks forward to this opportunity to build global laboratory capacity. The International Food Safety Training laboratory will help to address food safety challenges world-wide through training and technical assistance.”
U.S. government scientists from FDA and USDA, along with university experts, will lead intensive trainings focused on detecting both chemical and microbiological contaminants, preparing and testing samples according fit-for-purpose methods that allow scientists to validate and use results to make the right decisions about whether food is safe and meets regulations. Trainees can sign up for courses that address specific issue of concern to the U.S. and global communities. The IFSTL will have the ability to teach 200 professionals per year and will be operated by JIFSAN.
“I want to congratulate the Waters Corporation, JIFSAN, and the University of Maryland on the official opening of the International Food Safety Training Laboratory at the University of Maryland,” said Congressman Steny Hoyer (MD-05). “As the world’s only laboratory dedicated to training government and manufacturing scientists on regulations and best practices for food safety testing methods, this important public/private partnership will help ensure the safety of our food supply and lead the world in implementing the best practices available to protect the health of its citizens.”
“This uncommon collaboration promises a powerful response to a serious and growing international concern,” says University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Joining academic, private sector and government expertise makes a lot of sense, and is a uniquely effective way to build international scientific capacity and food safety.”
Waters served as the driving force behind the creation of the IFSTL through a multi-year commitment to fund the laboratory’s construction, provide analytical systems, and assist JIFSAN and FDA in designing training programs. Based on the strong interest generated by the announcement of the creation of the IFSTL in May 2010 and Waters’ discussions with governments in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, India and the Americas, there is a clear consensus that additional hands-on training capacity is needed worldwide.
The IFSTL is equipped with Waters-provided state-of-the-art ultraperformance liquid chromatography, with photodiode array, fluorescence and mass spectrometry detection.
Photo by John Consoli