International food risk communication center seeks more international involvement

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food and drug administration

The newly formed International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication (ICEFRC) is looking to attract more international partner organizations, its chief facilitating organization has said.

ICEFRC is a partnership of global food and health organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and non-profit communication experts, which was launched last week, led by the Washington D.C.-based International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation. Its founding partners include four US-based organizations – the IFIC Foundation, the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN), the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, and the United States Department of Agriculture – as well as two other food safety bodies, namely Health Canada and Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

However, IFIC Foundation executive director Kimberly Reed said that the organization is seeking to attract a more globally representative selection of food safety bodies and increase its international influence. ICEFRC’s stated aim is to create a collective international resource providing communication materials about food risks along the supply chain.

Reed told FoodNavigator-USA: “It is our intention to progressively build the site to add new expert partner organizations and contributors in key world regions. We have approached and are in active discussion with a number of such organizations.”

Although the organization’s founding partners are dominated by US-based institutions, Reed said that its website does include links beyond those of its partner organizations, to global food safety communication resources that have global reach, including a presence in Europe and Asia.

Reed also said that ICEFRC had not asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), responsible for the safety about 80 percent of the United States’ food supply, to become involved in the new organization until about a week ago, but pointed out that the FDA is involved indirectly in the organization, as a member of founding partner JIFSAN, a partnership between FDA and the University of Maryland.

She said: “We did approach FDA through​ [deputy commissioner for foods] Mike Taylor’s office to suggest that FDA become a partner directly just in the last week and realize we should have done so sooner. They were not able to commit to join us at this time and didn’t feel they could make a decision prior to the launch. We would certainly welcome them joining us in the future.”

Reed added that other organizations that would like to be considered as potential partners or contributors to the site should contact​.

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