Mars sponsors Dubai International Food Safety Conference

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Source: BI-ME , Author: BI-ME staff

Posted: 26-02-2009


UAE. Mars GCC sponsored  for the fourth year in a row, the 4th Dubai International Food Safety Conference (DIFSC) organised by Dubai Municipality and held in Dubai from 24-26 February 2009. 

Mars GCC, the largest locally-based food manufacturer shared its global expertise at the event to highlight the importance of food safety and promote the highest manufacturing standards.

DIFSC was launched to enhance food safety standards in the Middle East and to harmonise global food safety standards. Each year, the overall focus of the conference program addresses issues affecting the food industry that result from a wide range of events including regulatory change, international policy implementation, food borne illness outbreaks, and recalls.

The theme of this year’s conference is 'Food Safety in Light of Food Security'. 

Corporate Affairs Manager, Mars GCC, Christine Greaves said: “We are proud to be the official platinum sponsor of the conference for the fourth year in a row. Mars has always been driven by its core principles of quality and responsibility and the practice of the highest food safety standards since its establishment.

"We are committed as a global leader in food safety standards to sharing our expertise with the local community and continuously raising the bar on food safety and quality. DIFSC 2009 is an ideal platform for leading food industry players to exchange views on important issues and concerns relating to their markets.” 

This year DIFSC included national and International speakers who presented information on a variety of food safety issues. Among this year’s scheduled speakers were two experts from Mars, Dr Steven W Rizk, Director of Scientific & Regulatory affairs, Mars USA and Robert C Baker, Global Head of Food Safety, Mars, where he is responsible for specifying the food safety programmes for Mars.

Dr Steven W Rizk focused his discussion on Allergen Management from an international food industry perspective. Commenting on the topic of his presentation, D. Rizk said: “Over the past 20 years there has been an apparent increase in prevalence and severity of food allergies. Evidence suggests that true food allergy affects about 2% to 4% of adults and 2% to 8% of children in most markets. These food allergic reactions can take on a number of symptoms ranging from mild hives to sever anaphylactic shock or even death. Addressing the issue of food allergic reactions is critical and requires further attention.” 

Dr Rizk's presentation aimed at helping the audience to understand food allergens, its affect on consumers, symptoms of food allergy and the allergen management plan food company’s should acquire to help consumers by enhancing labeling regulations on their products.

Robert Baker spoke about Managing Aflatoxin Risks from farm to fork. According to past studies, there had been a number of incidents whereby a significant number of food safety incidents has been traced back to inbound raw material and supplier quality issues related to Aflatoxin contamination. Baker emphasised in his presentation on the importance and the role of material risk assessments, coporate intelligence, vendor management, and clear storage specifications as part of an integrated Aflatoxin management programme to minimise food safety risks.

As part of its commitment towards the community, Mars GCC has become the regional leader in food manufacturing due to its strict safety rules. Mars have won three awards in the last three years. These awards include the 2008 Environmental Health and Safety Gold award for Food Safety, the 2007 Dubai Quality Award and the 2006 Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award for Manufacturing.



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