UA sets up Chinese food safety center, funded by Walmart Foundation

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 223 views 

University of Arkansas representatives are helping take on food-borne illness in China with the establishment of the Walmart Safety Collaboration Center.

Funded by a $2.3 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, several faculty and staff members were in Beijing on Wednesday (Oct. 19) to help launch the center, which will initially focus on the poultry industry.

“China is the second-largest producer of poultry meat and eggs in the world, and in that country approximately 70 percent of food-borne bacterial infections in humans were caused by Salmonella,” according to a UA news release.

The UA team, comprised of representatives from the College of Engineering, the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences and the Sam M. Walton College of Business, plans to research causes of food-borne illness in the Chinese food supply chain and potential preventative measures, with the goal of creating a risk-assessment model that can be applied globally.

The UA representatives will collaborate with Chinese organizations, including three poultry companies, three universities, a research institute and a food test and inspection lab, according to the release.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the University of Arkansas to share its scientific expertise with the world, in this case the most populous nation in the world,” UA Chancellor Joseph E. Steinmetz said, according to the release. “We are honored to be partners in this vitally important project and for the opportunity to reduce the instances of food-borne illness among the Chinese people. This also provides tremendous opportunities for both our faculty members and our students.”

UA representatives in Beijing on for the safety center launch were John English, dean of the College of Engineering; Matt Waller, dean of the Walton College; John Kent, director of the Supply Chain Management Research Center at Walton College; Chase Rainwater, associate professor at the Center for Innovation in Healthcare Logistics in the College of Engineering; Yanbin Li, distinguished professor and Tyson Endowed Chair in Biosensing Engineering at the College of Engineering; and Michael Kidd, director of the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science at the Bumpers College.