The Lloyd’s Register Foundation is scheduled to present a workshop on food safety in California next month.

The event is part of the foundation’s foresight review on the topic with the academic research laboratory Food Lab 2.0 and is set for Dec. 14 in San Diego.

Foresight reviews are white papers funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) and awarded to experts and/or institutions. They gather data, insight and commentary from industry participants and the private and public sector. The goal of the reports is to provide insights for the research community and inform wider debate in society about the safety-related challenges being investigated.

The first workshop on Oct. 4-5 in Paris with Food Lab 2.0 was attended by 80 people from companies, academia and associations including Danone, Nestlé, Barilla Group, Novolyze, The Food Observatory, Wageningen University & Research, and the University of Sheffield.

It covered trends in scientific research and technology. Topics discussed were blockchain and next generation sequencing (NGS). Blockchain is enabling transparent food supply chains while NGS offers improved screening methods for determining what’s in the food we are eating.

Other discussions centered on how millennials are changing the way people eat and social media challenges for companies protecting their brands and managing reputational risk.

Foresight reviews are the result of workshops and advisory board discussions with academia, industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the public to capture the current state and short- and long-term challenges within a field. In the conclusions of each review there is a list of identified topics, challenges and recommendations on research, innovation, education, policy and practice needed as well as which type of projects should or could be funded.

Vincent Doumeizel

Vincent Doumeizel, VP Food, Beverage & Sustainability at Lloyd’s Register, said it was running the review now because of recent conversations the firm’s food group has had with those in the food and beverage industry.

“These discussions highlighted just how relevant and important food safety is right now – a topic which directly aligns with the foundation’s mission. This particular review will highlight possible future improvements in food safety as a result of life science and technology developments which could, in turn, help shape grant funding projects which the foundation commits to in the future,” he told Food Safety News.

“The long-term challenge for the industry is how we meet the demands of a fast-growing population on the food supply chain, while keeping prices affordable. We need to work to mitigate the environmental and social impacts of the supply chain to ensure the global ecosystem builds resilience to population growth. Consumers are also demanding and driving more transparency around traceability – they want to know where their food comes from and what’s in it.”

Data and insights gathered at the workshops will then be analyzed with the review scheduled to be published in April 2019. The final workshop is planned for the end of January in Seoul, Korea.

Doumeizel said workshops are an opportunity for people to come together to talk about issues and challenges which are affecting safety worldwide.

“The reviews are often a precursor to grant funded projects which makes them different from other projects. It seeks to harness an incredibly rich pool of expertise and knowledge from within industry to help decide which projects to grant fund next,” he said.

LRF is currently supporting two food projects. The first is the “Safe production of marine plants and use of ocean space” (SOMOS) project, funded by a grant of £500,000 ($640,000) given to Wageningen University and Research (WUR).

The marine project was developed in 2016 and was the first targeted at the food sector to be funded by LRF. It looks at safety frameworks and guidelines regarding seaweed as an alternative source of protein, its use as feed to cut livestock methane emissions, and the possibility of using it for biodegradable packaging.

The second project involves the Lloyd’s Register Safety Accelerator which is holding a food safety innovation workshop on Nov. 6 in London, United Kingdom. It will explore the challenges and opportunities for digital innovation to improve food safety.

Those interested in the foresight review can apply here to be a contributor and successful applicants will be invited to attend a future workshop.


(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)