A total of $5.9 million in grants will allow Duke University to strengthen current efforts to improve global food policy, including food safety. The institution has announced the launch of the World Food Policy Center (WFPC) at the Sanford School of Public Policy. This endeavor was made possible by funding from a number of sources:

  • The Duke Endowment ($5 million)
  • The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust ($600,000)
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation ($300,000)

According to a statement released by Duke, the World Food Policy Center’s research, educational programming, conferences and policymaker outreach will focus on collaborative problem solving, an approach that is critical -- and rare -- in the food policy arena.

“We are grateful to The Duke Endowment, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, and the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust for sharing our vision for cross-cutting improvements to food systems, which can produce profound benefits to human and environmental health,” says Kelly Brownell, dean of the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy and WFPC’s director.

In terms of food safety, the most necessary efforts, according to Brownell, are centered around genetically modified organisms, food defense, contamination and foodborne bioterrorism.

“Our intention is to facilitate connections between researchers and change agents,” says Brownell. “It is a two-way street: the needs of policymakers can guide research, and scientific findings can help policymakers make informed decisions.”

The WFPC is working on creating a global network of people interested in food policy and connecting them through a digital “world food policy idea bank” that would allow participants to post questions, share ideas and make new contacts.

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