The MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources recently conducted a report sponsored by Det Norske Veritas (DNV), a global provider of services for managing risk.
The report, “Food Safety Certification: A Study of Food Safety in the U.S. Supply Chain,” compiles data generated from online surveys of more than 400 consumers and 73 food companies under the management of the Product Center. The survey found that consumers want to see evidence that the food that they are buying has gone through an independent safety certification process. In fact, many would be willing to pay more for a product if it was marked with a certification label. Industry professionals are more interested in traceability. If something goes wrong, they need to find out the source of the problem. Both suppliers and consumers feel that safe and healthy food is of prime importance. And both suppliers and consumers have changed their habits and business practices to line up with their belief in food safety.
These results reinforce the importance of developing greater strength in our programs on food safety in our redesign. This is one of those areas that cuts across institutes, with both the Agriculture/Agribusiness Institute and the Health and Nutrition Institute investing in educator positions to ensure we are delivering research-based information to individuals at multiple points in the food supply chain, beginning with producers and ending with consumers. As our teams develop curricula and applied research in this area, I anticipate we may find a need for greater expertise on campus, and we have had productive conversations with department chairs regarding specialist and faculty positions that may be needed to ensure a strong program in food safety.
The MSU Product Center was established in 2003 with funds from the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) and Michigan State University Extension to improve economic opportunities in the Michigan agriculture, food and natural resource sectors. It’s led by director Chris Peterson.