Mars, Inc. is opening the Global Food Safety Center (GFSC)--a pre-competitive research and training hub. The center is slated to open on September 24.

As a global food business that uses 7 million tons of raw materials annually, Mars recognizes its responsibility in ensuring the safety of the global food supply chain.

Almost all of the work done at GFSC will be pre-competitive, which will help the industry to better evolve food safety and security. By combining the expertise of government, academia, regulators and even competitors, Mars believe that an industry focus on food safety will drive better access, availability and nutrition, as well as reduced food waste and an increase in overall quality of life. GFSC is a first-of-its kind, state-of-the art facility. Located just north of Beijing, the $15 million dollar center will house analytical chemistry and microbiology laboratories, interactive training laboratories and a conference auditorium.

This opening is the biggest milestone in Mars’ long history of smart partnerships that benefit the industry. In 2010, Mars, IBM and the U.S. Department of Agriculture completed a 2 year effort to sequence and annotate the cocoa genome. Like the GFSC, this was also a pre-competitive effort. Second--and possibly one of the biggest testaments in Mars’ commitments to date--is the UC Davis-Mars Innovation Institute for Food and Health. This was designed with a pre-competitive lens in mind as well, ensuring universities, national laboratories, government research bodies, foundations, NGOs and again, competitors, can partner to solve in food, agriculture and health issues around the world. Mars committed $40 million in the next decade and UC Davis also invested $20 million over the same time period in hopes of rapidly accelerating innovation.