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PolyU Takes Steps to Enhance Food Safety and Technology

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)'s Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology (ABCT) has recently established the Food Safety and Technology Research Centre with an aim of raising the standard of food safety by providing research, consultancy and training services to food and related industries in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta Region.

The first of its kind run by a higher education institution, the Food Safety and Technology Research Centre was officially opened today (9 August) by Mr Clement Leung, Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, HKSAR Government; Professor Timothy W. Tong, PolyU President; and Professor Wong Wing-tak, Head of ABCT and Director of the Food Safety and Technology Research Centre. This event has drawn nearly 200 participants from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, including government officials, renowned academics and industry professionals.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Professor Tong said, "PolyU is committed to raising food safety standard through education and research. Building on our strengths in food science research and education, we believe that the Centre will serve as an international platform for knowledge and technology transfer, as well as for collaborations and information sharing on the constant challenge of ensuring food safety."

Following the ceremony was an open forum on "Food Safety Highlights in Hong Kong and Mainland China" held on the PolyU campus. Professor Wu Yongning from National Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and Professor Laurie Chan from the School of Health Sciences, University of Northern British Columbia were invited to share their insights and experience in enhancing the safety of food. Professor Wu spoke on "Capability Building of Food Safety Issues: Where do we stand in China?" while Professor Chan talked about "Tackling Food Safety Issues: How can scientists help?"

Headed by Professor Wong Wing-tak, the Research Centre is founded with a mission to become a first-class centre with leading authority and excellent services in the areas of food safety and food technology. "By bringing together expertise of various areas, the new Centre will not only help raise the standard of food safety and the related testing and certification, but also facilitate inter-disciplinary collaborations in the region. The Centre will be actively engaged in food science research and new technology development and provide training and consultancy service for the industry. In the long run, we hope we could bolster public confidence on the safety of food supplies," said Professor Wong.

The Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology is a multi-disciplinary department that embraces chemistry, biology, biochemistry, biochemical engineering and food science. Over the past decade, the research team has dedicated efforts to develop rapid detection methodologies that can identify harmful substances in food products. To cater for the need of the community, the Department launched the Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Food Safety and Technology programme in 2009, nurturing professionals for the industry.

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