A center of excellence in nutrition
and food safety
he safety, quality and nutritional value of the food we eat is of fundamental
importance to our health and well-being. Lack of the right amount of the vitamins,
minerals and other essential nutrients and safe food, affects physical and mental
growth and results in an overall negative impact on the society and economy.
Private food testing laboratories typically lack the flexibility to explore and innovate
new technologies and do not provide services to assist small to medium enterprises.
National research laboratories focus mainly on fundamental research and do not
address the agribusiness needs.
Export markets are often not accessible to small agribusinesses due to the lack of
affordable food testing services necessary to comply with statutory requirements of
A Center of Excellence in Nutrition and Food Safety is identified as a
critical need and opportunity – with the primary objective of developing
high-throughput, innovative and low cost testing protocols for achieving
nutritional security and food safety.
The Center of Excellence in Nutrition and Food Safety
The Centere of Excellence shall catalyze the availability of nutritious and safe foods through
advancements in four key areas:
Development of high-throughput, innovative and low cost testing protocols
- Rapid screening protocols for nutrients, plant metabolites and bioactives shall be
developed and validated
- Rapid methods to assess in vitro bioavailability of micronutrients and phytochemicals will
be developed in order to validate the bioavailability of micronutrients.
- The rapid testing protocols shall be applied to assess and improve the nutritional status of typical
diets and food preparations of the poor
Science with a human face
Development of new innovative processing
technologies and functional food products
Develop innovative storage, cooking and
processing technologies to deliver nutritionally
enhanced diets and food products.
This will include the development of
affordable therapeutic infant, maternal and
geriatric food formulations with enhanced
nutritional traits, addressing hidden hunger
and malnutrition, suitable for the poorer
Development of functional food products that
can address different lifestyle diseases namely
diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Health claims of food products shall be
2. Food safety
Affordable and food safety testing provided
- High-throughput, innovative and lowcost testing protocols will be developed
and validated for screening of microbial
contaminants, mycotoxins, chemical
constituents (heavy metals, pesticide
residues etc.) and allergens.
- These tests will be set up so they
facilitate the compliance to domestic and
- They will also ensure food safety, especially
in the diets of the poor and malnourished.
- They will work with regulatory authorities
to be a proficiency testing provider in
countries where there are currently no
proficiency testing provider for food testing
laboratories, e.g. in India.
3. Policy support
Guide governments and other agencies
on national and local schemes that target
the poor in regards to the food nutrition and
safety. Assist with formulating guidelines and
regulations to ensure nutritional security and
Serve as a national referral laboratory in
the areas of nutrition and food safety.
4. Promotion and capacity building
Undertake advocacy with industry, farmers and
government in support of highly nutritious and
safe foods that target the poor.
Provide open sharing of knowledge and
A concept note for
Ensuring nutritional security in rural India
Recommend appropriate food recipes,
storage and cooking methods to enhance
nutritional value and safety.
Conduct trainings to enhance knowledge
of nutrition and food safety and innovative
cooking and storage methods.
Capacity building of technical staff involved in
the area of nutritional product development,
implementation of food safety regulations and
food testing laboratories.
There will also be capacity building of field
staff involved in community-based nutritional
health/food safety improvement programs.
Facilitating establishment of a Center of
Excellence in Nutrition and Food Safety
in other countries
Set up and support can be provided by ICRISAT and
its Agribusiness and Innovation Platform which
has experience in working on value addition, food
processing, food safety and capacity building:
Establishing 22 agribusiness incubators in India
and more in Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and
Setting up 5 food safety laboratories in Africa.
Training and consultancies for food processing
Researching across the whole value chain
incorporating the social and physiological
Outcomes and benefits
Lead to more nutritious and safer diets of the
poor, contributing to overcoming malnutrition
and serious lifestyle diseases.
Address lifestyle diseases through interventions
at the dietary level and advocacy.
Facilitate networking between farmers,
researchers, and industry for efficient
knowledge transfer in the area of nutrition and
Facilitate new food processing and agribusiness
industries domestically and for export through
product development and food safety efforts.
Support the establishment of a Center of Excellence in a
country or region, building a sustainable business model.
Kiran K Sharma, Chief Executive Officer, Agribusiness
and Innovation Platform; E-mail: email@example.com