Safer food for the Third World

March 09, 2012

An open source Food Safety Knowledge Network devised by a Massey University Professor has won a major international award for improving food safety practices in developing countries.

Professor of Agribusiness Hamish Gow oversaw the development of the network that has been recognised with the international effective practice award by the Sloan Consortium.

He worked with a team at Michigan State University on the project that provides Third World food producers free and open access to best practice food safety guidelines.

The network provides a set of steps that any producer can access that will take them from no food safety capacity to meeting international standards, Professor Gow says.

“We approached the Global Food Safety Initiative, a group comprising some of the biggest food producers in the world, and put together some working groups to create the requirements,” he says.

The network appears to have had pleasing results, with anecdotal evidence showing there has been a big impact on food safety in some countries. “In Ukraine, I’m told, they have gone from 20 per cent compliance to 90 per cent,” he says.

Professor Gow’s work fits well with other projects at the University including the World Bank project that has seen public health and veterinary professionals taught master’s programmes through distance programmes devised and offered by Massey staff. The University has also begun offering short courses to Agribusiness managers in a joint initiative with Lincoln University.

The Sloan Consortium is an institutional and professional leadership organisation dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education.