U of A Experts Join Walmart Food Safety Effort in China

U of A Experts Join Walmart Food Safety Effort in China
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Representatives from three colleges of the University of Arkansas are in Beijing today, taking part in the launch of the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center in China.

The purpose of the center is to fund non-competitive research focused on analyzing the causes and finding ways to prevent food-borne illness in the Chinese food supply chain.

The University of Arkansas received a $2.3 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to fund collaborative projects involving the poultry industry in China.

U of A representatives at today’s event in Beijing are:

  • Dean John English, College of Engineering 
  • Dean Matt Waller, Sam M. Walton College of Business 
  • John Kent, director, Supply Chain Management Research Center, Walton College  
  • Chase Rainwater, associate professor, Center for Innovation in Healthcare Logistics, College of Engineering 
  • Yanbin Li, Distinguished Professor, Tyson Endowed Chair in Biosensing Engineering, College of Engineering 
  • Michael Kidd, director, Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the University of Arkansas to share its scientific expertise with the world, in this case the most populous nation in the world,” said Chancellor Joseph E. Steinmetz. “We are honored to be partners in this vitally important project and for the opportunity to reduce the instances of food-borne illness among the Chinese people. This also provides tremendous opportunities for both our faculty members and our students.”

The U of A participation in the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center will itself be an interdisciplinary collaboration with many facets: 

  • The College of Engineering plans to work with Bumpers College and Walton College to identify food safety challenges, issues and solutions.
  • The Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, the Reliasoft Risk, Reliability and Maintainability Research Alliance in the Department of Industrial Engineering and the Supply Chain Management Research Center intend to work together with Chinese universities, research institutes and poultry industries. Their goal is to investigate food-borne pathogens and antibiotic residues in poultry supply chains; study in-field testing methods and intervention technologies; and apply risk assessment supply chain management techniques to improve food safety in China.
  • Teams will work to provide curriculum and research for companies seeking interns and employees with these specific food safety and supply chain skillsets.
  • Researchers intend to promote an innovative, entrepreneurial, customer-focused mindset with a global view of food safety.

 

Specific initiatives that are planned under the grant include:

  • Collecting food-borne pathogens and antibiotic samples in poultry and poultry products in China 
  • Providing a risk assessment model to be used by various universities, organizations and companies throughout the world to improve food safety and food supply chains globally
  • Collaborations with three regional poultry companies in China to improve in-field rapid detection technology and risk assessment model to ensure food safety of poultry supply chains
  • Collaborations with three universities, one research institute and one food test and inspection lab in China and three poultry companies to enhance knowledge creation and student learning opportunities
  • Creation of a “farm to table” risk assessment strategy to enhance the food safety of poultry products in China and the world
  • Enhance the food supply chain through leaders focused on food safety, problem solving and innovation

China is the second largest producer of poultry meat and eggs in the world and in that country approximately 70 percent of food-borne bacterial infections in humans were caused by Salmonella. A goal of the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center is to reduce this serious threat to human health as well as to China’s poultry industry.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

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