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Global food safety agreement between UC Davis and China

On July 23, 2014, officials from China’s Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University in Shaanxi province, and the University of California, Davis, today signed a memorandum of agreement that lays the groundwork for establishing the Sino-U.S. Joint Research Center for Food Safety in China. The signing ceremony was held in the city of Yingchuan, China, during a meeting between high-level officials of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

 Global food safety agreement signed by China and UC Davis.
Global food safety agreement signed by China and UC Davis.Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“Today's agreement is a landmark event for UC Davis and for our World Food Center and serves as yet another indication of our worldwide leadership in food and health,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, according to the July 23, 2014 news release, Global food safety agreement signed by China and UC Davis. “We are incredibly pleased to join forces with Northwest A&F University and look forward to making discoveries and realizing solutions that will promote food safety in China and around the world.”

Signing the agreement today were Harris Lewin, vice chancellor of research for UC Davis, and Wu Pute, professor and vice president of Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University. Also present were Catherine Woteki, under secretary for research, education and economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Vice Minister Zhang Laiwu of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

The memorandum of agreement, which will extend over the next five years, calls for the center’s two lead universities to form a joint research team and research platform, carry out collaborative research projects and cooperate on other food safety-related projects

UC Davis' World Food Center will identify a director to coordinate the research program. The Chinese partners will provide substantial funding for the new center, with details to be announced this fall, 2014.

“This is clear evidence that the entire UC system is fully committed to be front and center on the critical issues of food security, sustainability and health,” said UC President Janet Napolitano, according to the UC Davis news release. She recently launched the UC Global Food Initiative as a systemwide collaboration to put the world on a path to feed itself nutritiously and sustainably.

Both the Sino-U.S. Joint Research Center and the UC Davis World Food Center will contribute to the UC Global Food Initiative

"With UC Davis’ commitment to food safety research and China’s ever-increasing demand for food, the Joint Research Center is a natural partnership,” said Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. “Food safety will benefit from global scientific collaboration, and new findings will help the food and agriculture sector meet new challenges, improve the health of consumers and maintain the integrity of the global food supply chain.”

Roger Beachy, executive director of the UC Davis World Food Center, noted that the new food safety center is a logical outgrowth of many well-established research collaborations between scientists from UC Davis and China. “Working closely with Chinese scientists and policymakers, the new center will have significant impacts on food safety in China and elsewhere around the globe,” he said, according to the news release.

Beachy said that the catalyst for the new collaborative effort was a visit to China last fall by Chancellor Katehi. During that visit, Chinese officials and UC Davis alumni identified food safety as a topic of key importance for China. Beachy, who has longstanding ties with China’s research community, became head of the World Food Center in January and has shepherded the collaborative agreement for UC Davis.

About the new Food Safety Center

The Joint Research Center for Food Safety will promote international collaborative research and extension for food safety in China and the U.S. It will conduct research on global food safety-related policies; establish an international, high-level research platform for food safety research; propose solutions for hazards in the food-industry value chain; and develop models for implementation of international food safety standards and risk management. UC Davis and Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University will engage other research faculty from the U.S. and China in the new center.

Students from both UC Davis and China will be offered opportunities to study and train in each other’s countries. UC Davis faculty members currently have extensive collaborations with several Chinese universities, and the new joint research center is intended to expand these and initiate new activities.

The July 23, 2014 signing will be followed by a Sept. 12, 2014 event, laying out the working details for the new center and celebrating the 80-year anniversary of the founding of China’s Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University

"The food industry has become the largest industry in China; and food safety is a critical area for China and the U.S. to have creative cooperation and learn from each other," said Zhang Laiwu, according to the news release. Laiwu is China's vice minister of science and technology. "It not only involves technologies, but also policies and management. The fruitful cooperation will also be important to ensure food security."

He added that the new cooperative agreement among UC Davis, Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University, Yangling National Agricultural High Tech Demonstration Zone, and Zhuhai Municipality of China is a creative platform for cooperation in improving food safety.

World Food Center at UC Davis and the UC Global Food Initiative

The World Food Center at UC Davis was established in 2013 to increase the economic benefit from campus research; influence national and international policy; and convene teams of scientists and innovators from industry, academia, government and nongovernmental organizations to tackle food-related challenges in California and around the world.

The UC Global Food Initiative is building on existing efforts such as the World Food Center and other endeavors at UC Davis, while creating new collaborations among the 10 UC campuses, affiliated national laboratories and the systemwide division of Agriculture and Natural Resources to support healthy eating, sustainable agriculture and food security. More information about the UC Global Food Initiative.

Other food-related collaborations with China

UC Davis faculty are currently involved in numerous collaborative research projects in China, including four food-safety efforts that specialize in the genomics of food-borne diseases, dairy safety, waterborne diseases and livestock, and environmental chemicals.

Additionally, the campus hosts the BGI@UC Davis Partnership, which focuses on genome sequencing, and the Confucius Institute, a cultural outreach program emphasizing food and beverages.

When plastics get in your body they disrupt your endocrine system

In other research during the past few years, scientists found that plastics damage your hormones, especially your thyroid hormones. And they may not show up on tests doctors use to diagnose thyroid problems. Plastics that may create low thyroid functions that in turn create high cholesterol levels. You may wish to check out the article, "How to Store Food Without Using Toxic Plastics." Or see, "Plastics: What's Dangerous, What's Not - Mother Earth News." There's also the site, "Can chemicals leach unto food from plastic wrap or containers?"

Could the early puberty rate of Sacramento children possibly be tied to hormone changes due to absorption of various types of plastics, certain chemicals, and other toxins from the environment? Endocrine disruptors could be a wide variety of chemicals from plastics or from beauty products. What are scientists looking at? In Sacramento, obesity is linked to early puberty. But could the same situation result from other hormone disruptors such as pesticides or fire retardants in fabrics? What can you do to promote green health in the environment?

Think about certain types of plastics such as Teflon and PCBs. Plastics are in food, air, and water. Here are some ways that plastics can damage your cholesterol metabolism. To solve the problem, use safer containers to store or wrap your food and other items you consume. Or could early puberty be due more to obesity in children? See, Obesity Tied To Early Puberty - Family News Story - KCRA Sacramento.

Each day the average person takes in 19 ug/kilogram body weight per day (Kavlock). If you're in the hospital and have an IV with plastic tubing, it increases your plastics level to over 160 mcg per day. If you're a newborn or a premature infant with an IV in you, the amount of plastics entering your bloodstream is enormous.

The levels in humans in the USA of a flame retardant placed in bedding and clothing called PBDE, which is a cousin to PCBs, is doubling every two years. (See page 306 of The Cholesterol Hoax.) What can you do to lessen your exposure to the effects of platicizers?

"Plastics make your hormones act unpredictably," reports Sherry A. Rogers, M.D. on page 299 in her book, The Cholestrol Hoax in the section titled, "Plastics Cause High Cholesterol." Did you know that exposure to eating from plastic plates, utensils, and bottles damage your cholesterol metabolism?

In the womb, plastics are passed via the placenta to the fetus. The more IVs you have with that plastic tubing, the more plastics get into your blood. Plastics and plasticizers lower testosterone. Plastics help to create more ateriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). This could lead to diabetes or metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance). Plasticizers help to make you gain weight. Plastics promote prostate and breast cancers, and turn on the tags and switches of bad genes.

Are Sacramento female children being exposed to chemicals in nutritional supplements and beauty products that are linked to early puberty due to chemicals that disrupt their hormones?

A recent study included Northern California female children using some commercial beauty products and even some nutritional supplements and medicines coated with certain chemicals to aid in time-release. Also see, ""Chemicals in Beauty Products Tied to Early Puberty in Girls." And what do these same chemicals due to male children? (A study on males needs to be done). The chemicals include phenols, phthalates, and phytoestrogens. Should you make a list of what beauty products and nutritional supplements, even medicines are coated with these or contain these chemicals? Even some commercial shampoos may contain them. Is it time to make your own shampoo from basic products? And what's in some baby shampoos? Has anyone looked and made a list?

Are chemicals in beauty products linked to early puberty in girls?

Why were so many chemicals found in the beauty products or in some supplements that exposed these young girls to phenols, phtalates, and phytoestrogens that could disrupt their body's hormone systems? According to the Health Day News April 08, 2010 article, "Chemicals in Beauty Products Tied to Early Puberty in Girls," Exposure to chemicals found in a wide range of consumer products may lead to delayed or early puberty in girls and increase their risk for health problems later in life, U.S. researchers reported.

The chemicals in question are called endocrine disruptors. They are the phenols, phthalates, and phytoestrogens in some beauty products. The problem is those chemicals interfere with the body's endocrine, or hormone, system.

Maybe it's time to use organic, natural beauty products you make yourself that aren't coated with time-release chemicals or plasticizers. It's not only cosmetics. These plasticizers are sometimes used as coatings on some types of time-released nutritional supplements and medications. You also find these chemicals and coatings in various types of commonly used consumer products such as nail polishes, cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, and shampoos.

The study included 1,151 girls, ages 6 to 8, who lived in New York City, Cincinnati and northern California. All three classes of chemicals were widely detectable in urine samples collected from the girls.

The study found that high levels of phthalates and phytoestrogens were strongly associated with early breast development. One phenol, two phytoestrogens and a subset of phthalates -- those used in building products and plastic tubing -- were associated with delayed puberty. But phthalates found in personal products such as lotions and shampoos were linked to earlier breast and pubic hair development.

The study also focused on how chemicals influence breast cancer risk due to time periods in childhood in the development of the mammary gland. Another area of study is how dietary habits can impact the development of the mammary gland also before puberty. How strong is the link between chemicals in beauty products and nutritional supplements and breast cancer? Further study is needed." The study was published online in the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives.

When you look at older studies, the research explores possible links of early puberty to the incidences of cancer or diabetes much later in adulthood. What's in the environment that may be putting children at risk?