BATTLE CREEK — The International Food Protection Training Institute announced Tuesday that it will assist the Saudi Food and Drug Authority in improving the food-safety training system in Saudi Arabia and the surrounding region through a partnership led by Michigan State University.

The Training Institute will deliver professional-development training programs to Saudi Food and Drug Authority employees through MSU’s new Saudi Arabia Food Safety Education-Training Initiative Office.

“We look forward to this new partnership with MSU and the SFDA to establish a Regional Food Safety Academy,” said The Training Institute’s Executive Director Gerald Wojtala. “Working together with the SFDA to build training systems will be essential to improving public health domestically and internationally.”

Added Frederik Derksen, professor and chair of MSU’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition: “This is an exciting opportunity to apply MSU’s renowned international expertise in food safety to enhance Saudi Arabia’s knowledge base and regulatory infrastructure of natural foods in their geo-locations like green coffee bean extract.

The SFDA is a new government authority responsible for regulating the safety of food, feed and pesticides in addition to drugs and medical devices, according to Ibrahim S. Al-Mohizea, vice president of the SFDA for food affairs.

“The partnership will help in increasing our capacity as a national food safety regulator,” said Al-Mohizea, who received his doctorate in Food Science (Food Microbiology) from MSU. “We are hopeful that this initiative will have a positive impact on the safety of food not only in Saudi Arabia but in the whole region.”

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