(Washington, D.C., March 30, 2012) — In its first year, the International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication substantially increased its membership and, through its website,www.foodriskcommunications.org, provided timely resources, insights and expertise to approximately  4,000 international health professionals, stakeholders and consumers on six continents. 

The International Center is a collaborative effort among global food and health organizations, government agencies, academic institutions and nonprofit communication experts to promote effective risk communication and informed decision-making about food from farm to fork.  

The founding partners of the International Center include

  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand
  • Health Canada
  • International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation
  • Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
  • National Center for Food Protection and Defense
  • United States Department of Agriculture

During the first year, the following organizations joined the International Center:

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Food Communication Compass Japan

The International Center was also listed as a contributing partner to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Food Safety Cooperation Forum.  

"In the spirit of public diplomacy, the IFIC Foundation has been pleased to work with our government partners from around the world to foster engagement and share best practices. This first year set in place a model that we now will build upon as additional nations join this important science-based communications effort to maximize our individual and collective reach and effectiveness, especially during times of concern, for the public good," said Kimberly Reed, Executive Director, IFIC Foundation, and Advisory Council Member of the International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication. 

Following are comments from other members regarding the impact of the International Center’s goals and activities:

 “With food being traded across the globe in record time it’s essential that food regulators are able to share expertise and knowledge. Excellence in risk communication is essential in every aspect of food regulation but is particularly important in the event of food emergencies. This is why Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) was committed to helping establish the International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication and why we will continue to support this important initiative,” said FSANZ CEO, Steve McCutcheon.

USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety, Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, captured the International Center’s impact and value in remarks to the first Global Diet and Physical Activity Communications Summit in September 2011.   

“Better communication can mean better public health results. So educating and connecting with the public—as efficiently and effectively as possible—should always be a part of our strategy to encourage healthier, more informed choices.  That’s why initiatives like the International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication are important. The Center is still very new—it was just established this year—but already it’s provided food and health professionals around the world with access to the best practices in food-risk communication.”   

The International Center’s website provides resources to help government officials, health professionals, academicians, food producers, journalists, the public, and others communicate concepts, practices, research, and data about food safety, nutrition, and health.  The home page contains a Current News and Hot Topicssection with the latest information on late-breaking developments in food safety and health.  Links are provided to each of the participating organizations’ websites and to resources from other leading international institutions including the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.   In separate sections for health professionals and consumers, the website posts materials from all of the contributing organizations, grouped by topic.  The IFIC Foundation serves as the facilitator of the International Center and manages its website. 

 For additional questions about the International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication please contact media@foodriskcommunications.org or 202-296-6540.  

About the International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication The mission of the International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication is to provide resources to help government officials, health professionals, academicians, food producers, journalists, the public, and other stakeholders communicate and understand concepts, practices, research, and data about food safety, nutrition, and health.