New Food Safety Research Network Launched to Tackle Effects of Food Poisoning in UK
The new £1.6 million network will serve as an innovation hub to coordinate and fund cross-sectoral research and training activities that address current and emerging challenges related to food poisoning.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) are investing £1.6 million in a new Food Safety Research Network to tackle the impacts of food poisoning in the UK.
Food poisoning is a major health challenge, with approximately 2.4 million cases of foodborne illness in the UK each year. The estimated annual cost from these illnesses is £9 billion, with £6 billion from unknown causes.
The new UK Food Safety Research Network will connect food industry, food and health policymakers and academia to collaboratively pursue shared research priorities that will protect the UK from foodborne hazards. The network will serve as an innovation hub to coordinate and fund cross-sectoral research and training activities that address current and emerging challenges.
The network’s objectives are to:
- Assemble a community of UK food producers, food policy makers and scientific researchers who collectively can take robust actions toward improving food safety.
- Identify areas of research need and opportunity that, in the view of food stakeholders and network members, will have meaningful impacts on UK food safety.
- Coordinate new collaborative research activities that will promote the application of science towards the food safety challenges identified by our food system community.
- Host training promoting skills development, interoperability and relationship-building between our food system community.
- Translate the knowledge generated within the network to food safety stakeholders, and to upcycle existing information and technologies relevant to food safety that have not yet been applied more broadly.
The network will be hosted by the Quadram Institute, which aims to improve human health through innovation in gut health, microbiology and food.
BBSRC Executive Chair, Professor Melanie Welham, said:
‘Each year, food poisoning has a major impact on the health of UK citizens and the health of our economy.
‘The new UK food safety network presents a tangible and exciting opportunity for collaborations to form between a range of experts to improve our understanding of foodborne disease and identify new ways in which to effectively predict, prevent, respond and recover from such illnesses in the future.’
The announcement of the creation of the new network is available here.
(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)