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USP signs MOU with Chinese food safety agency

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 25-Jun-2010

US Pharmacopeia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Chinese food safety agency, the National Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety – Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NINFS).

US Pharmacopeia (USP) is the standards setting agency behind the Food Chemicals Codex, which is used internationally and lists monographs for about 1,100 food additives. USP’s collaboration with NINFS is intended to develop new food additive standards and monographs, translate existing Food Chemical Codex standards into Chinese where appropriate; exchange scientific staff; and share knowledge and technology.

The two groups are set to form a Joint Executive Committee to investigate future areas for collaboration.

USP’s CEO Roger Williams said: "Consumers are increasingly consuming foods composed of a host of ingredients such as colorings and preservatives – and these ingredients are produced all over the world. Given this reality, ensuring the quality of these ingredients requires global cooperation. We look forward to working together with NINFS on scientific and standards-setting activities that will result in a better food supply for citizens of both countries – and the world."

US Pharmacopeia’s vice president of food, dietary supplements and excipient standards James Griffiths told “China has had a reputation for selling less expensive ingredients but I think now they want to have the reputation for selling higher quality ingredients and they see this as a way to do that.”

Griffiths added that the collaboration is “a very active two-way street” as there are still many food additives, especially botanical and flavor extracts that come from China that are not covered by the FCC, but which are covered by Chinese standards.

“We will be able to find out where those gaps are and work out how to close them, as well as developing workshops together, developing partnerships,” Griffiths said.

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