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Mars Wants Industry, Government and Charity Sector "to Work Together to Address Global Threat of Unsafe Food"

Mars Wants Industry, Government and Charity Sector "to Work Together to Address Global Threat of Unsafe Food"

Published 07-17-15

Submitted by Mars, Incorporated

Mars, Incorporated has said that the critical challenge of food safety will only be solved through greater collaboration between business, government and NGOs. Mars Global Business Advisor John Cordaro was speaking at a Mars co-sponsored panel event on food safety – a fringe event to the Third International Conference - Financing for Development Meeting (FFD3) where global leaders are deciding how to pay for the United Nation’s sustainable development goals. 

“We need to be clear that unsafe food is not food. Food contamination is a pervasive threat that causes poverty, malnutrition and death and affects billions of people around the world”, explained Mr Cordaro. “To tackle this issue, we need industry wide change that’s consistent with regulation. As a global food business, we have the tools, expertise and commitment to take the lead. But we’re all in this together. Collaboration between business, government, charities, researchers is the only way to drive real change.”

Dave Crean, Vice President, Corporate Research and Development at Mars, Incorporated added: “As a food business we use some 7 million tons of raw materials annually. With the work that we do to ensure the safety of those materials and our products, we have a profound influence on food safety and therefore food security. This is a precompetitive area of responsibility for everybody involved in the food supply chain, by recognizing that and approaching the challenges we have in collaboration with all stakeholders we can positively impact the world’s food supply.”

Mars is committed to quality and food safety and demonstrating leadership in this area while seeking out unique partnerships that aim to deliver sustainable solutions. In 2015, its new Global Food
Safety Center will open with the aim of expanding global knowledge in food safety management. Mars is supporting the African Union Commission based Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) to help African farmers control aflatoxins in food crops such as peanuts and maize to help reduce health impacts among women and stunting in children. Also this year, Mars has partnered with World Food Programme (WFP) to improve the provision of safe, locally sourced food to those in need in Africa; and established a consortium with IBM Research to use genetic data to better understand and improve food safety. 

The panel event, entitled Uncommon Partnerships Address Aflatoxins, the World's Most Urgent Food Safety Challenge, was co-sponsored by Mars and PACA. Aflatoxin – a common naturally occurring fungal toxin – is a serious threat to food security and a barrier to eliminating hunger and malnutrition around the world. Aflatoxins contaminate 25%1 of world food crops, exposing billions2 of people to food safety risks and killing thousands each year3 . Panelists discussed successful partnerships that have resulted in progress against food contamination – referencing the work of PACA, UN Agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP), the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Mars. 

The Financing for Development finance in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is an important step towards UN member states signing up to a new set of development goals in September 2015. The sustainable development goals are a new set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. Ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture is one of the proposed new goals. 

About Mars, Incorporated

Mars, Incorporated is a private, family-owned business with more than a century of history and some of the best-loved brands in the world including M&M’S®, PEDIGREE®, DOUBLEMINT® and UNCLE BEN’S®. Headquartered in McLean, VA, Mars has more than $33 billion in sales from six diverse business segments: Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience. More than 75,000 Associates across 73 countries are united by the company’s Five Principles: Quality, Efficiency, Responsibility, Mutuality and Freedom and strive every day to create relationships with stakeholders that deliver growth we are proud of as a company. 

For more information about Mars, Incorporated, please visit Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

125% world food crops (PACA, 2000) Aflatoxin contaminated – referenced in “PACA” ‘Holistic Approach to Addressing the Aflatoxin Challenge in Africa’ ADFNS 2013, 30 October 2013

2 4.5-5 billion people a year exposed to Aflatoxin in developing countries - Williams, et al. CDC and Daniel Kertesz, WHO

3 700,000 people die a year (or about 2,000 people die each day) in Africa - Daniel Kertesz, WHO

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