Tuesday, April 14, 2009

UCD food safety course will train Chinese experts in EU laws

Source of Article:  http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0414/1224244629096.html


SEAN Mac CONNELL, Agriculture Correspondent

THE FIRST steps towards making Ireland a centre for excellence for food safety education will be taken at UCD this summer when a pilot training scheme will be launched with the Chinese authorities.

The initiative emerged from a meeting between Chinese food safety experts and Prof Patrick Wall of UCD at a university seminar in China some months ago.

Prof Wall met counterparts from China while attending the event which was aimed at seeking overseas students for Irish universities.

The Chinese, who have had a number of food scares in recent years which led to EU bans on its food products, indicated they were seeking to develop a cadre of people fully familiar with EU food safety requirements and how industry complied with these.

They were also seeking academic input and work experience for members of its regulatory agencies and their food industry which is a growing part of their economy.

As a result of these discussions, UCD has now set up a Master’s in Food Safety and Risk Analysis which will begin in January next for 40 Chinese experts.

Prof Wall, who was first chairman of the Food Safety Authority, said a short pilot course in the same field will run for three weeks this summer with 30 participants taking part.

“I was attending this university’s exhibition in China supported by Enterprise Ireland looking for foreign students, when I met Chinese people I knew through the food safety area,” he said.

“They expressed an interest in getting a special course going and it grew from there and it should be of great benefit to both us and them,” he said.

“We really shot ourselves in the feet with the pork dioxin crisis and it will be a case study when all food safety courses are being updated around the world this September,” he said.


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