Our responsibility doesn’t start and end within Mars. Our aim is to support the wellbeing of people across the global food supply chain by enabling best practice for the production of safe, nutritious and enjoyable food. We do this through work in our own supply chains as well as by fostering knowledge sharing and insights on a precompetitive basis.
Food safety and security
Food safety is one of the fundamentals of food security, yet the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that around 1 in 10 people on our planet suffers ill effects from eating unsafe foods. It is well understood that the safety of the foods we consume influences nutrition, health and wellbeing, cognitive capability and economic opportunities that shape national and global development. Food safety is not just a problem of developing countries. Even in the world’s richest economies the problem persists — for instance, 1 in 6 Americans suffers from a foodborne illness each year.
At Mars, we believe if it’s not safe, it’s not food. As a global food manufacturer operating across more than 80 countries with a diverse range of products, we have gained hands-on experience in managing the challenges associated with sourcing a wide range of raw materials within complex supply chains. We are committed to sharing insights and best practices with food safety partners and collaborators around the world to support our collective aim of ensuring safe food for all.
That’s why, in 2015, we opened the Mars Global Food Safety Center — a global research and training facility established to increase understanding, foster collaboration and help raise food safety standards on a global scale through collaborative research, training and knowledge sharing. The Mars GFSC is focused on addressing three long-term food safety challenges:
- Mycotoxin risk management: We are developing partnerships and strategies to help tackle mycotoxins and aflatoxins, which pose the most serious health threat within the global food supply chain.
- Microbial risk management: Our program aims to transform the management of bacterial contamination through the application of new technologies and methodologies. For example, in 2015, we launched the IBM-Mars Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain to observe, predict, and ultimately prevent, potential food safety threats.
- Food Integrity: Our work focuses on the prevention of “known and unknown” food contamination risks, such as tampering and food fraud.
Resilient supply chains
Our partnerships extend beyond food safety to helping find ways to drive resilience across the global supply chain. Today, we work with more than 25 partner organizations and academic institutions to share knowledge and generate new insights to support supply chain resilience. Our global partners include: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Food Programme, the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa and the African Orphan Crops Consortium, to name but a few. Through these partnerships, we aim to drive higher crop yields in a sustainable way, improve nutrition and economic value, and also reduce contamination, food waste and environmental impact.
Ultimately, we believe investing in cutting-edge science and new technologies, as well as focusing on collaboration to share insights and best practices, will help combat the causes of unsafe food, improve supply chain resilience and enhance farmer incomes around the world.