BEIJING, June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Walmart has agreed to sponsor the translation of a Food Fraud Prevention online course to the Mandarin language. The course was developed by Dr. John Spink, Professor at Michigan State University (MSU) and Director of the University’s Food Fraud Initiative. Dr. Spink, a recognized expert in this area, has joined Walmart in their efforts to help customers, regulators, suppliers and retailers increase public awareness of food fraud prevention in China and prevent food fraud through joint efforts in the market.
MSU’s first Food Fraud Prevention Overview was originally conducted in May of 2013 and it has only been offered in English. Since its debut, the massive open online course (MOOC) has seen over 800 participants from 48 countries take in the free course. Following the first MOOC, there has been great interest in follow-up courses and translation into other languages. The Walmart sponsorship of the first language translation of the MOOC into Mandarin is a critical next step in protecting against food fraud and improving the global food supply chain.
This two-week MOOC is offered free to anyone, anywhere, who has Internet access. The first Mandarin version of the two-week course will be offered in two sections, on August 5 and August 12. It is especially targeted to be a tool to help food companies in China further strengthen their food fraud prevention and surveillance programs.
Participants of the MOOC will gain important insights into the reasons food fraud continues to be a major issue in the global supply chain. The course will draw on a wide range of current experience and expertise, infusing many real-world applications and problem-solving exercises that will provide a framework for success in the future.
Frank Yiannas, Vice President of Food Safety for Walmart said, "At Walmart, we take the issue of food fraud very seriously. Because prevention of food fraud is a shared responsibility and education is a key to deterrence, Walmart is delighted to be able to help Michigan State University make the course more broadly available to regulatory officials, industry professionals, consumers and other stakeholders in China."
Dr. Spink said, "We are grateful for forward–thinking companies like Walmart who are working, and investing in, improving the safety of the world’s foods." He elaborated that, "When we rapidly expand the education and awareness building at this early stage in the development of the science, we can more efficiently establish a starting point and trajectory of our actions."
"Food fraud has been recognized as a common challenge not only for retailers but also the whole supply chain," Walmart China Chief Compliance Office Paul Gallemore said. "As the largest retailer in the world, Walmart intends to leverage global food safety expertise and best practices to help our suppliers address the problem together in order to provide even greater assurance of food product quality, authenticity and safety to our customers."
The retailer recently announced they are continuing to invest heavily in food safety for China with their total investment for 2013, 2014 and 2015 reaching 300 million Yuan. A portion of this investment has been heavily focused on supplier training and management. Walmart is helping suppliers understand and comply not only with China’s regulations, but the company’s extensive and rigorous food safety policies. Meanwhile, the company will perform additional testing and tougher standards for suppliers in 2014, increasing DNA testing on meat products by 100 percent and facility audits and inspections of primary producers by more than 30 percent from 2013. Walmart China has also taken a zero-tolerance policy on food fraud.