Friday, October 04, 2013

Lecture: Social Network Models of Food Safety Standards Worldwide, and Impacts on Trade and Health

"A Tangled Web:  Social Network Models of Food Safety Standards Worldwide, and Impacts on Trade and Health"

Felicia Wu, PhD

Hannah Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Michigan State University

October 10, 2013
Patenge, C102 East Fee Hall, 4:00 p.m.

When nations make decisions about setting food safety standards, the impacts go far beyond the public health impacts of the nations' populations.  These standards have effects on a nation's main trading partners, as well as on the entire global network of nations trading particular commodities.  There are also effects on the distribution of more contaminated vs. less contaminated foods worldwide.  Two case studies, which involve social network models of global food trade, are presented in this lecture.  The first is on maize trade and the impact of aflatoxin regulations. Aflatoxin, produced by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus, is a potent carcinogen found most commonly in maize and nuts.  We find that like attracts like: nations trade maize with other nations that have identical or very similar standards, and rarely do pairs of nations' trade maize if their total aflatoxin standards are different by more than 5 ng/g.  The second is on pistachio trade.  We find that differential aflatoxin standards force market segregation on a global scale, with stricter nations importing primarily from one nation and less strict nations importing primarily from another.  Potential economic and global health effects associated with these regulations are described.  In the end is a story of hope: an epidemiological study conducted in Qidong, China, of the decrease in liver cancer mortality over a 30-year timeframe due to reduced aflatoxin exposure through switching from maize consumption to rice consumption in the population.



Thursday, October 03, 2013

Understanding Europe: Why It Matters and What It Can Offer You

Alberto Alemanno is teaching a free online course, “Understanding Europe: Why It Matters and What It Can Offer You.” Learn about the European Union, how it works, why it matters and what it can offer you. Regardless of where you live, the EU not only affects your life but may also transform it. This course aims at empowering you, your family, business and community in Europe and beyond and will enable you to discover jobs you were not aware of.

To learn more about the course and to register, visit the Coursera site here.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Food Law and Policy Summer Student Position

The Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at UCLA has just created a new summer position for a law student interested in working on food law issues. The summer associate will divide his or her time equally between independent research on a food law topic and assistance with the program's ongoing projects. Those projects may include academic research projects and collaboration with program partners. The specific projects will be tailored to the summer associate's interests and the program's needs.

The ideal candidate has strong academic credentials and writing skills. A strong interest in food law and policy is mandatory; a background in the area is preferred but not required.

The position runs from June –August 2014. Specific dates are flexible. There will be a small stipend, amount to be determined. To apply, send a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, list of two references, and a writing sample to Applications are due Nov. 15, 2013.

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