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MSU, UM To Work On New Food Ingredient Research Institute

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EAST LANSING (WWJ) – There will soon be a new independent academic center at Michigan State University studying the safe use of chemical ingredients in consumer packaged goods.

MSU will operate the Center for Research on Ingredient Safety in association with the University of Michigan, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the food, beverage and consumer products industries.

CRIS will serve as a reliable and unbiased source for information, research, training and analysis.

“Ensuring the safety of our products – and maintaining the confidence of consumers – is the single most important goal of our industry,” said GMA chief science officer Leon Bruner. “The center will be an independent resource for a broad range of stakeholders that provides unbiased analysis and information on the safety of ingredients used in foods and consumers products.”

CRIS will be modeled after already existing centers of expertise at other academic institutions, which focus on allergen and microbiological safety. It will be located at MSU and will be governed by an advisory board composed of multiple stakeholders, including academic, industry, nongovernmental organizations and regulatory representatives.

“Michigan State University has what may be the largest and most diverse cohort of faculty in the nation working directly on food and consumer product safety issues, and the university has great strength in the discipline of toxicology,” said Fred Poston, dean of MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “It is natural that a national center devoted to food and consumer product ingredient safety will be located at MSU.”

“Partnerships, like the one that creates the Endowed Chair in Ingredient Safety with the Grocery Manufacturers Association and its members, show that safe and secure food and consumer products truly change the world,” said Fred Derksen, chairperson of MSU’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. “In addition to the support of the endowed chair, MSU is committed to establishing this center whose core is research, educating the next generation of scientists, informing regulators and serving industry.”

The center will work to achieve the following goals:
* Expand the opportunity to conduct basic and applied research on the safety and toxicology of ingredients in food, packaging, cosmetics and household care products.
* Develop and validate testing methods and strategies for evaluating the safety of ingredients in food, packaging, cosmetics and household care products.
* Establish a graduate training program that prepares scientists for a career in assessing the safety and toxicology of ingredients in food, packaging, cosmetics and household care products that includes training in risk assessment and U.S. and international regulatory policies.
* Inform the public, health professionals, regulators and the scientific community on research matters reflecting the state-of-the-science pertaining to the safety and toxicology of ingredients in food, packaging, cosmetics and household care products.

A partner in this endeavor is a Risk Science Center at UM. The RSC will lead the communications component by developing innovative approaches to connecting the CRIS research with stakeholders. In addition, the center will provide responsive and evidence-informed risk/benefit insights into topical issues on food ingredient safety.

CRIS will be supported through the establishment of an endowed chair that will be funded with contributions provided by organizations and individual supporters.

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