Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

China Partnering Award to Deliver Safer Foods

Published: Thursday, September 05, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, September 05, 2013
Bookmark and Share
A BBSRC China Partnership Award is helping Chinese scientists contribute to reducing the risks of food poisoning.

Foodborne botulism is a serious health concern, causing life-threatening illness and long-term health effects. In the UK regulators, food companies and researchers have come together to implement robust systems that make outbreaks extremely rare, with no reported deaths for over a decade. In China, however, the incidence of foodborne botulism is much higher and causes a number of deaths.

Possible sources of foodborne botulism are foods containing mushrooms and aquatic products, which are major dietary components in China. However, there hasn't been an extensive investigation into the precise causes of these botulism outbreaks. The rapid pace of China's development is also driving changes in food production and consumption. With funding from the BBSRC's China Partnering Award scheme, the IFR collaborated with the  Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences (SAAS)  and Shanghai Ocean University (SHOU) Shanghai Ocean University (SHOU) , to investigate mushrooms as a possible source of botulism.

Pradeep Malakar, Mike Peck and Gary Barker from the IFR led an initial workshop in Shanghai in 2008, focusing on the risk of foodborne botulism. Part of the workshop involved planning a survey for determining the natural contamination of mushrooms produced in China with spores of C. botulinum. This survey used protocols developed at the IFR, and Dr Zengtao Xing from SAAS and Dr Zhao Yong from SHOU received training at IFR on handling of anaerobic bacteria. This work was recently published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

China Partnering Awards provide funding to encourage partnerships between UK and overseas laboratories, including the exchange of scientists, particularly early career scientists. Activities funded by these awards add extra value to on-going BBSRC science and help promote new collaborations.

Dr Pradeep Malakar, recipient of a BBSRC China Partnership Award that has led to closer links in the area of food safety.

Other activities supported by the China Partnering Award have been based around Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA), an area of expertise at the IFR. QMRA involves estimating the risks to human health from microbial pathogens in the food chain and in 2009 the IFR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the SAAS to enable additional closer scientific collaborations in this area. IFR scientists delivered graduate lectures and seminars to students and Dr Malakar has been awarded a Visiting Professorship at SHOU.

A prestigious Oriental Scholar Award from the Shanghai Department of Education is allowing Dr Malakar to develop further scientific collaborations with academic institutions in Shanghai on food safety research. Miss Zhao Xiaoyan, a scientist from SAAS, also visited the IFR in 2010 for training in QMRA, and As well as working with fellow scientists to improve teaching and training in QMRA and food safety, the IFR, through the China Partnering Award, has involved the food industry and regulatory authorities in the growing UK-China cooperation.

In 2011 Dr Malakar arranged a meeting between Chinese academics, Unilever Research Shanghai and the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration (ShFDA). The IFR also hosted visits from ShFDA to the UK, allowing them to meet their counterparts from the UK's Food Standards Agency and other UK researchers specialising in QMRA.

This China Partnering Award, awarded to Dr Pradeep Malakar in 2008, has fostered strong UK-China collaborations in food safety research, also spanning decision making and industrial partners, and it is hoped this will help future UK-China collaborations and shared activities. Already, as a direct result of the China Partnership Award, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office sponsored a visit by Dr Malakar to Guangdong Province in Southern China, as well as a return visit by the Guangdong Department of Health to the IFR in 2012.

In March 2013 a food safety and QMRA workshop was held in Guangdong with the South China Ministry of Health organised by Dr Malakar and involving scientists from the IFR. Following this workshop, Dr Xiaoyu Song also spent time at the IFR in summer 2013. She is a senior scientist from the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA), an agency of the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of the People's Republic of China. CFSA provides advice and technical support to NHFPC on food safety risk assessment, surveillance, alert, risk communication and food safety standards.

These activities show the value attached to the collaborations initiated by the partnership award.

Dr Pradeep Malakar has benefitted, personally and professionally from the BBSRC China Partnership Award. "The China Partnership Award has allowed me to operate efficiently in an environment, where patience, cultural sensitivity and direct personal relationships are prerequisites," said Dr Malakar.

"Closer scientific collaboration between the UK and China is a long term project and at the IFR we aim to be the lead UK partner for scientists in China intending to pursue research in QMRA."

Future collaborations are now planned for research on the safety of seafood in China. In particular, they will be aimed at developing a better understanding of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, the bacterial pathogen causing significant food poisoning in Southern China. Most of the seafood in the UK is imported and from a food security perspective, consumers need to have access at all times to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Food safety events in the food chain can disrupt supply. Dr Malakar was appointed as a supervisor for Miss Xiaoyang Tang, a PhD student studying the growth and survival of this seafood pathogen, and there is considerable scope for expertise in UK and China to collaborate to tackle this problem.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Global Food Security (GFS) Develops New Funding Programme
New programme of research to tackle resilience of the food system.
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
£4M to Fund Important Food Crops from BBSRC and NERC
Research projects designed with industry partners to maximize impact.
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
Rising Temperatures Predicted to Lower Wheat Yields
An international consortium of researchers has used big data sets to predict the effects climate change on global wheat yields.
Friday, December 26, 2014
New Test For Detecting Horse Meat
New test compares differences in chemical compositions of the fat found in meats.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
UK Diet and Health Research Awarded £4M
Funding awarded to six projects investigating diet and health to enable the food and drink industry to meet the needs of UK consumers.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
A Synthetic Biology Approach to Improve Photosynthesis
Assembling a compartment inside chloroplasts of flowering plants has the potential to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis.
Friday, May 16, 2014
Rothamsted Research Granted Permission for new GM Field Trial
Permission granted by Defra for Rothamsted to carry out a field trial with GM Camelina plants that produce omega-3 fish oils in their seeds.
Monday, April 28, 2014
How Bacteria Communicate with us to Build a Special Relationship
Research is a key step in understanding how our bodies maintain a close relationship with the population of gut bacteria.
Monday, February 17, 2014
New Funding to Create Healthier and Safer Food
BBSRC and the Technology Strategy Board invests £8.5M in almost 40 research projects.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
More than Bread and Beer: the National Collection of Yeast Cultures
Yeasts are one of the earliest, if not the earliest, biological tools used by people.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Crop Plants – "Green Factories" for Fish Oils
Rothamsted Research scientists develop Camelina sativa plants that accumulate high levels of Omega-3 oils EPA and DHA in their seeds.
Monday, November 25, 2013
New Chromosome Map Points the Way Through Campylobacter’s Genetic Controls
The Institute of Food Research has produced a new map of the Campylobacter genome, showing the points where all of this pathogenic bacteria's genes are turned on.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Improved Ways of Testing Meat in the Food Chain
The horsemeat scandal has shown there is a need to improve, increase and expand current authenticity testing regimes.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
How Bacteria with a Sweet Tooth May Keep us Healthy
Some gut bacterial strains are specifically adapted to use sugars in our gut lining to aid colonisation, potentially giving them a major influence over our gut health.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Vaccinating Cattle Against E. coli Could Drastically Cut Human Cases
A recent study has shown that vaccinating cattle against the E. coli O157 bacterium could cut the number of human cases of the disease by 85%.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Scientific News
The MaxSignal Colistin ELISA Test Kit from Bioo Scientific
Kit can help prevent the antibiotic apocalypse by keeping last resort drugs out of the food supply.
Kitchen Utensils Can Spread Bacteria Between Foods
In a recent study researchers found that produce that contained bacteria would contaminate other produce items through the continued use of knives or graters—the bacteria would latch on to the utensils commonly found in consumers' homes and spread to the next item.
GMO Food Animals Should be Judged by Product, Not Process
In a world with a burgeoning demand for meat, milk and eggs, regulatory policies around the use of biotechnologies in agriculture need to be based on the safety and attributes of those foods rather than on the methods used to produce them, says a UC Davis animal scientist.
Acetaldehyde and Formaldehyde Content in Foods
Korean researchers have determined the content of the toxic and carcinogenic aldehydes, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, in a variety of food groups.
Increasing Vitamin D Supplementation
New study from ETH Zurich finds that elderly women should consume more vitamin D than previously recommended during the winter months.
IARC Monographs Evaluate Consumption of Red Meat and Processed Meat
Processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.
Nanoparticles in Foods Raise Safety Questions
Nanoparticles can make foods like jawbreaker candies brighter and creamier and keep them fresh longer. But researchers are still in the dark about what the tiny additives do once inside our bodies.
Arsenic Found in Many U.S. Red Wines
A new University of Washington study that tested 65 wines from America’s top four wine-producing states — California, Washington, New York and Oregon — found all but one have arsenic levels that exceed what’s allowed in drinking water.
Viruses Join Fight Against Harmful Bacteria
Engineered viruses could combat human disease and improve food safety.
Plastic for Dinner
Roughly a quarter of the fish sampled from fish markets in California and Indonesia contained man-made debris according to a study from the University of California, Davis, and Hasanuddin University in Indonesia.

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos