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Mars Global Food Safety Center Highlights Next Generation Sequencing at 2016 Asia-Pacific International Food Safety Conference


Penang, MALAYSIA (October 14, 2016) – Mars, Incorporated, one of the world’s leading food

manufacturers, called for more proactive and innovative approaches to eliminate food safety risks at the 2016 Asia-Pacific International Food Safety Conference (APIFC) and the Asian Conference on Food and Nutrition Safety (ACFNS), which took place October 11-13 in Penang, Malaysia.  Speaking on the opening day of the event, Dr. Jing Ren, the Global Head of Microbiological Food Safety Research of Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC), endorsed the application of Next Generation Sequencing, saying, “New threats to food safety continue to emerge throughout the global food supply chain which is why research and collaboration in food safety is so important.”

APIFC and ACFNS are part of an important and unique regional conference series organized by the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) and International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). By bringing together food safety professionals from government, industry and academia to discuss the latest food safety trends and issues, participants are spurred to explore sustainable solutions for addressing scientific and technical issues impacting the safety of the food supply chain across the Asia Pacific region.

Dr. Ren’s presentation provided an overview of potential applications of NGS in food safety risk management, along with a framework through which risks could be proactively managed based on the application of NGS data and bioinformatics.

“Traditional approaches to identifying and quantifying potential food safety hazards typically involve sampling, testing and waiting before data is available and action is taken,” said Dr. Ren. “But this reactive approach can be limited in its effectiveness, and does not provide a mechanism to proactively predict and manage potential food safety hazards from a root cause level.” To improve hazard analysis, the Mars GFSC is working on a new approach to food safety risk management which identifies “sentinels” that highlight the presence of potential food safety hazards allowing for intervention before an actual incident occurs.

Mars believes that food safety is one of the fundamentals of food security—and that a focus on food safety will help drive better access, better availability, and better nutrition, reduce waste and save lives.

The first of its kind for Mars and one of the first facilities for the region and industry, the Mars GFSC takes a pre-competitive approach to food safety and is committed to raising standards of food safety management across the industry through knowledge capture, knowledge generation and knowledge sharing.

Since it opened in September 2015, the center has also delivered a number of face-to-face and virtual food safety training events, including Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) training, collaborated with CFDA, and Best Process Control School (BPCS) training, collaborated with GMA. In April it convened more than 60 global food safety experts to share knowledge and collaboration opportunities around the future of food safety at its first global food safety science symposium. 

“As one of the world’s leading food manufacturers, Mars has driven a new approach to quality and food safety and invested in research and capability building to meet the global food safety challenges affecting the food industry,” continued Dr. Ren. “Mars’ GFSC will continue to encourage open collaboration, inviting practitioners from across academia, governments and NGOs to join us in in working towards our common goal of ensuring safe and food for generations to come.”

About Mars, Incorporated

Mars, Incorporated is a private, family-owned business with more than a century of history and some of the best-loved brands in the world including M&M’S®, PEDIGREE®, DOUBLEMINT® and UNCLE BEN’S®. Headquartered in McLean, VA, Mars has more than $33 billion in sales from six diverse business segments: Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience. More than 75,000 Associates across 73 countries are united by the company’s Five Principles: Quality, Efficiency, Responsibility, Mutuality and Freedom and strive every day to create relationships with stakeholders that deliver growth we are proud of as a company.

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About the Mars Global Food Safety Center

The Mars Global Food Safety Center, is situated in Beijing and opened in September 2015. The center is the first of its kind for Mars and one of the first facilities of its kind for the region and industry. It conducts pre-competitive food safety research and training capturing, generating and sharing to help raise food safety standards across the global food supply chain.

The center houses microbiological and analytical research laboratories and training facilities, as well as an auditorium equipped to house up to 100 participants, with videoconferencing and simultaneous translation capability.

Key areas of research at the center include: mycotoxin management, rapid detection and pathogen management, raw material and product authenticity, operational food safety optimization and transforming food safety through data integration.