IFIC Foundation Releases Food Safety Communicator's Guide in Beijing

Contact Info: 

Matt Raymond (raymond@ific.org) or Laura Kubitz (kubitz@ific.org), 202-296-6540

(Beijing, Sept. 23, 2015)—The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation released Food Safety: A Communicator’s Guide to Improving Understanding during a landmark two-day workshop co-hosted with the China Food and Drug Administration (China FDA), which concludes today.

The Guide, which was prepared by IFIC Foundation with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, provides health professionals, food and nutrition stakeholders, government officials, journalists, and others a variety of tools to help with effective planning and execution of food safety risk communication through a practical, hands-on approach for communicators.

“Safe food for all people is a universal goal,” said Kimberly Reed, IFIC Foundation President.  “It is a great honor to launch this needed resource here in Beijing during our joint workshop with the China Food and Drug Administration for 120 Chinese government officials and journalists.”

“In the overall view, risk communication is still in the early stage in China.  We are trying to build risk communication platforms for all of the stakeholders proactively,” said Ms. Du Xiaoxi, CFDA Deputy Director-General, Department III, Food Safety Inspection Division.  “We are drafting risk communication guidelines for Chinese circumstances.  The need for risk communication experts in our administration is very important.  This is why we are holding this training program.”

Tony Flood, IFIC Foundation Senior Director for Food Safety and Defense, noted that “food safety is a shared responsibility, and the IFIC Foundation is honored to release this Guide as we celebrate Food Safety Education Month, which occurs each September.  This resource will enable key stakeholders – including government officials, journalists, academic and health experts, as well as consumers – to enhance public trust and confidence in the safety of our global food supply.”

The IFIC Foundation-China FDA workshop featured leading experts from the U.S., China – including the China FDA, China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment, China Agricultural University, and Peking University – and the World Health Organization.  Reed’s opening remarks to the group are included in their entirety below.

Effective risk communication depends greatly on audience characteristics, as well as local and national cultural contexts in which the communication occurs. To that end, the Guide provides tools and templates for risk communication in unique environments, and discussion about specific food safety situations.

The Guide includes many useful tools for communicators, and features topics including:

  • Defining Food Safety; 
  • Building a Practical Framework for Successful Food Safety Risk Communication;
  • Guidelines for Interacting with News Media; and
  • Regulating & Communicating Food Safety on Global and Local Levels.

An electronic version of the full Guide is available at www.foodinsight.org/foodsafetyguide

The Guide also will be translated into a variety of languages including, Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesian, and others.  Check www.foodinsight.org/foodsafetyguide, where they will be posted in the next few months.

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The International Food Information Council Foundation is dedicated to the mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, nutrition and food safety for the public good. The IFIC Foundation is supported primarily by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural industries. Visit http://www.foodinsight.org


Opening Remarks by Kimberly A. Reed, President, International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, at the IFIC Foundation-China Food and Drug Administration 2015 Food Safety Risk Communication, Media Relations and Multi-Sectoral Collaboration Training Workshop

September 22, 2015
Beijing, China

Good morning.  It is our great pleasure to be here for this important workshop co-hosted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation and the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA).  My colleagues and I are looking forward to productive and collaborative discussions on the importance of food safety risk communication with the many distinguished speakers and 120 attendees from CFDA and journalists over the next two days. 

We thank the head of the CFDA, Minister Bi Jingquan, CFDA Deputy Director-General, Department III, Food Safety Inspection Division, Ms. Du Xiaoxi, Mr. Liu Songtao and CFDA colleagues, and others for hosting us here in Beijing. 

We also want to recognize Professor Junshi Chen and talented staff at the China Food Information Center (CFIC).  It was a great honor for the IFIC Foundation to participate in the official launch ceremony of CFIC here in Beijing almost one year ago and to welcome CFIC into our global Food Information Organization (FIO) Network, which includes organizations around the world who, like the IFIC Foundation, are dedicated to the mission of effectively communicating the science of health, nutrition, and food safety for the public good.

We also look forward to the insights from Mr. Peter Sousa Højskov, World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations (UN) system, providing leadership on many global health matters.  As part of its mission, WHO assists countries to prevent, detect, and respond to foodborne disease outbreaks, and provides information to help consumers handle and prepare food safely.

Safe food for all people is a universal goal, and while government regulators, food producers, processors, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and consumers around the globe strive to keep food safe, not all food is safe all of the time.  The international community recognizes the importance of minimizing food safety risk to the extent possible and practical.  As we all know, food safety communicators are tasked with explaining why this is and when and how it affects consumers, and this is why we are here today.  

Both public and private entities are responsible for ensuring safe food and communicating food safety risk when it is present. Ensuring that responsibility means that government officials, health professionals, and food companies along the supply chain must understand and effectively communicate food safety risk with consumers, the media, businesses, and other relevant stakeholders. Doing so builds better capacity for better coordination and more trust in the food supply.

As such, we are pleased to launch here today the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s Food Safety: A Communicator’s Guide to Improving Understanding (Guide).  We want to thank the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service Emerging Markets Program for their support of this project.

The Guide can be downloaded at www.foodinsight.org/foodsafetyguide, and will be translated into Mandarin Chinese and several other languages.  The Guide shows effective planning and execution of food safety risk communication through a practical, hands-on approach for communicators, and we hope it is a useful resource to you.

In closing, I would like to highlight something that is uniting our two nations this week.  Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting the United States, and will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on September 25.  This visit presents an opportunity to expand U.S.-China cooperation on a range of global, regional, and bilateral issues of mutual interest.

On the eve of President Xi’s state visit, a letter issued by The Paulson Institute and U.S.-China Business Council and signed by 94 CEOs was sent to both presidents.  In the letter, the CEOs reiterated “the importance of strong and mutually-beneficial trade and investment ties between our two countries.  As the two largest economies in the world, the United States and China need a positive and enduring commercial relationship, which is an essential anchor for global economic growth.”  You might be wondering why I am noting this letter today.  I am because it is relevant to all of us.  Many of the 94 CEOs who signed the letter are CEOs of major food, beverage, agriculture, and retail companies.  They appreciate first-hand what we are doing here today, as we take steps to “maintain, strengthen, and expand that relationship,” on the issue of food safety.

Food safety is not a competitive factor; it is a goal that unites all of us on many fronts.  The IFIC Foundation looks forward to working with you and other Chinese colleagues in the years to come as we implement food safety risk communication best practices so that, globally, we build better capacity for better coordination and greater trust in the food supply, enable effective communication and informed decision-making along the food chain, and promote global health and consumer understanding. 


Our great thanks to Minister Bi, Deputy Director Du, and this group of distinguished Chinese leaders for hosting us today.  We are very much looking forward to our discussions.