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Impact

Food safety is recognized as a universal public health concern. Enormous economic and human resources are invested globally to ensure that there is a safe food supply. However, most of these resources are focused on the reduction of harm from chemical and microbial contaminants present in foods, rather than on the safety of the foods themselves. The ILSI Research Foundation addresses this challenge by providing information resources and capacity building activities for scientists, regulators and the public.

Collaborators & Partners

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Canadian Grains Council, CropLife International

Areas of Focus

The ILSI Research Foundation is focused on the following activities related to genetically engineered (GE) food and feed safety assessments:

Crop Composition Database

The ILSI Crop Composition Database contains over 972,000 data points on the natural composition variability of conventionally grown crops that can be used to assess similarities and differences in important nutrients and anti-nutrients.

e-Learning Courses

The ILSI Research Foundation has developed e-Learning courses that focus on how basic decisions are made regarding food safety and how problem formulation can be used in assessments to ensure they are fit for purpose.

GE Food Safety Capacity Building

Understanding the need for technical capacity building for food safety assessment, the ILSI Research Foundation shares its knowledge and scientific expertise by facilitating regional workshops and developing and disseminating reference materials.

Resources

Newsletters

Find out about the work being done by the ILSI Research Foundation by reading our monthly e-newsletter.

e-Learning

e-Learning courses have been developed by the ILSI Research Foundation that focus on food safety.

OECD Task Force on the Safety of Novel Foods and Feeds

Paris, France

The ILSI Research Foundation will be attending the OECD Task Force on the Safety of Novel Foods and Feeds, which works on technical issues related to the food safety of novel foods and feeds, including food derived from transgenic organisms.

Read more

ILSI Annual Meeting 2017

La Jolla, CA, USA

The ILSI Annual Meeting was held in January 2017. It is a unique opportunity that brings together experts from government, academia, private sector and non-governmental organizations, to address global issues.

Read more

AACCI Annual Meeting 2016

Savannah, GA, USA

The ILSI Research Foundation presented during the American Association of Cereal Chemists International (AACCI) Annual Meeting. The AACCI Annual Meeting is the place to learn, collaborate, and innovate with the best and the brightest in the grain-based foods industry.

Read more

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Speaker Presentations

About Agenda Abstracts Presentations Social Media About

We have an unprecedented global challenge - to feed a growing population and one that is increasingly living in urban areas.  It’s estimated that by 2050, 66% of the world’s population will live in cities and much of this urban growth will take place in developing countries.  Food systems are transforming to meet demand in geographically dispersed towns, small and medium cities, as well as in mega cities (> 10 million people) which numbered 10 in 1990, 28 in 2014, and may be 41 by 2030.  Diets in poor, urban areas are changing as women enter the work force and seek out time and labor saving food options.  A growing and affluent middle class in Asia, Latin America and Africa is also driving significant changes in preferred foods, with increasing consumption of perishable foods like meat, dairy and fresh fruit and vegetables.

These and other drivers of food choice in low and middle income countries were explored in the ILSI Research Foundation Scientific Session on January 23, 2017, with presentations from experts who shared their research and perspectives on how we may address this global revolution in food systems.

Agenda

Click here to view the agenda.

8:30 Welcome and Opening Remarks

Dr. Adam Drewnowski
University of Washington

8:45 Keynote: Urbanization, Food Systems and the Diet Transformation in Developing Countries: What do we know, and what do we need to know?

Dr. David Tschirley
Michigan State University

9:30 Understanding Drivers of Food Choice in Diverse and Dynamic Settings: Conceptual and Methodological Innovations

Dr. Christine Blake
University of South Carolina

10:00 Agriculture, Food Systems and Nutrition Linkages: Lessons Learned and Emerging Priorities

Dr. Suneetha Kadiyala
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

10:30 Break

11:00 Urbanization and USAID’s Value Chain Approach for Rural Economic Growth

Dr. Peter Richards
US Agency for International Development

11:30 Who Will Feed the World’s Cities? The Rural-Urban Convergence

Dr. Jessica Fanzo
John Hopkins University

12:00 Panel Discussion

Dr. Adam Drewnowski (Moderator)
Dr. David Tschirley
Dr. Christine Blake
Dr. Suneetha Kadiyala
Dr. Peter Richards
Dr. Jessica Fanzo

12:30 Adjourn

Abstracts

Please read the abstracts for the ILSI Research Foundation Scientific Session on Hungry Cities: The Global Revolution in Food Systems.

Keynote: Urbanization, Food Systems and the Diet Transformation in Developing Countries: What do we know, and what do we need to know?

Dr. David Tschirley
Michigan State University

Research over the past several years has begun to document a rapidly unfolding diet transformation across developing Africa and Asia, driven by income growth and urbanization.  Beyond the broad patterns of this transformation, the most notable finding is that the transformation is not limited to middle class and higher households in urban areas - these patterns are seen in rural areas as well as urban, and among low income households as well as those higher in the income distribution.  This finding suggests that enormous pressures of change are being felt now in agrifood systems as they attempt to respond to this rapidly rising and changing demand for food.  The presentation will review what is known about the process of change, and what needs to be known in order for governments and donors to develop effective policy and programmatic responses to this diet transformation.  The talk will focus especially on the “hidden middle” of the systems – the processing, logistics, and wholesaling operations that tend to be overlooked by both researchers and policy makers but whose performance is central to the effects of the transformation on local populations.

Understanding Drivers of Food Choice in Diverse and Dynamic Settings: Conceptual and Methodological Innovations

Dr. Christine Blake
University of South Carolina

Rapid changes in traditional dietary practices have led to increased consumption of industrially or locally processed foods.  Attempts to achieve ambitious goals to improve dietary intake have led to identification of key challenges, including recognition of limited knowledge about drivers of food choice, particularly among the poor in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Food choice is the process whereby people select, prepare, and consume food. The Food Choice Process model of Furst, Bisogni, Sobal and colleagues has guided research on individuals’ food- and self-schemas as drivers of food choice that reflect cultural perspectives on what is considered edible and more or less desirable.  Interpersonal factors drive decisions about food for the household, distribution among household members, and social settings for consumption.  The Drivers of Food Choice (DFC) Competitive Grants program funded by the Gates Foundation and UK DFIC seeks to contribute to our understanding of the drivers of food choice in LMIC, many of which are experiencing rapid urbanization and changes to agriculture and markets. The program will fund up to 15 projects in LMIC pursuing a diverse set of questions about environmental and individual drivers of food choice using both established and innovative methods. Understanding the individual and interpersonal drivers of food choices under traditional conditions in LMIC and how these choices are affected by the rapid social and economic changes occurring in many parts of the world is important for program planners and policy makers.

Agriculture, Food Systems and Nutrition Linkages: Lessons Learned and Emerging Priorities

Dr. Suneetha Kadiyala
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The commitment to strengthen the role of agriculture and food systems to optimize nutrition outcomes in low and middle income countries is evident in the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2).  Many publications have noted the potential for agriculture-food systems to influence nutrition on a large scale, while acknowledging uncertainty about how best to fulfill that potential.  This presentation will discuss the developments in our understanding-conceptual and empirical- of the interlinkages between agriculture-food systems and nutrition, the key gaps and conclude with some recommendations for policy and research.

Urbanization and USAID’s Value Chain Approach for Rural Economic Growth

Dr. Peter Richards
US Agency for International Development

In lower and middle income countries, family purchasing power has risen significantly over the past decade and a half.  Population shifts, including rural to urban migration and the rapid rise of cities, have also reshaped market structures, particularly for agriculture and food. These changes are creating tremendous new opportunities (and challenges) for rural areas. The US government’s Feed the Future initiative, in recognition of these changes, emphasizes a market-driven, value chain approach to rural economic development. This includes not only working across the extent of the supply chain, but an increased emphasis on (1) developing farm level technical and financial capacities, particularly for high value dairy, meat, and horticultural production; (2) increasing awareness and recognition of product standards, to ensure safety and facilitate downstream processing; and (3) enabling efficient documentary and regulatory environments favorable to small and medium agri-food enterprises.

Who Will Feed the World’s Cities? The Rural-Urban Convergence

Dr. Jessica Fanzo
John Hopkins University

By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas in search of employment and economic opportunities. Who will feed this exponentially growing population as rural societies begin to slowly disappear? Sixty percent of Africa remains rural and Asia, although rapidly shifting to an urbanized region, has approximately 50% who still live in rural areas. Rural development is an important part of the equation and investments in rural food systems are critical to sustainable development and feeding the world well. In many parts of the world, we are seeing encroachment of cities into peri-urban and rural communities with “ruralized” urban areas and “urbanized” rural landscapes. Although investments are cyclical and the urban-bias often dominates, there are important reasons to invest in rural development and support food hubs and food systems that harness this convergence. First, hunger and undernutrition dominates in rural areas (although also high in many urban slums), thus there is a need to invest in sound food security and nutrition strategies to tackle the burden to ensure that farmer families are healthy. Second, while urban agriculture holds some promise, rural landscapes still produce the majority of food around the world. Third, smallholder farmers have more diversified landscapes and produce approximately 60% of the world’s nutrients, making important contributions to the overall dietary diversity for the world’s population. Fourth, there are many successful examples of how, through better linkages with urban centers, rural development can feed these populated centers while jumpstarting entrepreneurship, empowering women, and sustaining rural livelihoods. This presentation will examine the diet and health consequences of urban migration and rural stagnation, and examples of how rural-urban cooperation can benefit health, economic and sustainable development of populations.

Presentations

Keynote: Urbanization, Food Systems and the Diet Transformation in Developing Countries: What do we know, and what do we need to know?

Dr. David Tschirley, Michigan State University (presentation)(video)

Understanding Drivers of Food Choice in Diverse and Dynamic Settings: Conceptual and Methodological Innovations

Dr. Christine Blake, University of South Carolina (presentation)(video)

Agriculture, Food Systems and Nutrition Linkages: Lessons Learned and Emerging Priorities

Dr. Suneetha Kadiyala, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (presentation)(video)

Urbanization and USAID’s Value Chain Approach for Rural Economic Growth

Dr. Peter Richards, US Agency for International Development (presentation)(video)

Who Will Feed the World’s Cities? The Rural-Urban Convergence

Dr. Jessica Fanzo, John Hopkins University (presentation)(video)

Panel Discussion

The panel discussion included Dr. David Tschirley, Dr. Christine Blake, Dr. Suneetha Kadiyala, Dr. Peter Richards and Dr. Jessica Fanzo. It was moderated by Dr. Adam Drewnowski. (video)

Social Media

Start the conversation!

Hungry Cities: The Global Revolution in Food Systems, the ILSI Research Foundation Scientific Session at the 2017 ILSI Annual Meeting, is using Twitter to reach a global audience. This year’s session will address drivers of food choice in low and middle income countries.

Key Social Media Account

The ILSI Research Foundation Twitter handle is @ILSIRF
#ILSI17 is the preferred hashtag for the 2017 ILSI Annual Meeting.

Engage with Session Speakers

Dr. Christine Blake, University of South Carolina (@UofSC)

Dr. Adam Drewnowski (@DrAdamDrew), University of Washington (@UW)

Dr. Jessica Fanzo (@jessfanzo), John Hopkins University (@bermaninstitute)

Dr. Suneetha Kadiyala, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (@LSHTMpress)

Dr. Peter Richards, US Agency for International Development (@Feedthefuture)

Dr. David Tschirley, Michigan State University (@foodsecuritylab)

Example Tweets

We have an unprecedented #globalchallenge - to feed a growing population and one that is increasingly living in #urban areas. #ILSI17
What is the impact of #urbanization on #food? By 2050, 66% of the world’s population is estimated to live in cities. #ILSI17
#Diets in poor, urban areas are changing as women enter the work force. #ILSI17 #Hungrycities
Join the conversation on #sustainable diets & #urbanization at #ILSI17 with @ILSIRF.
Find out about drivers of #foodchoice in low & middle income countries at the @ILSIRF #Hungrycities session. #ILSI17

Speakers

ilsirf2017_blakechristine

Dr. Christine Blake

Associate Professor, Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior,  Arnold School of Public Health
University of South Carolina

ilsirf2017_drewnowskiadam

Dr. Adam Drewnowski

Professor, Epidemiology, Director, Center for Public Health Nutrition, School of Public Health
University of Washington

SAIS

Dr. Jessica Fanzo

Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor, Ethics and Global Food & Agriculture
Johns Hopkins University

ilsirf2017_kadiyalasuneetha

Dr. Suneetha Kadiyala

Associate Professor in Nutrition-Sensitive Development, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

ilsirf2017_richardspeter

Dr. Peter Richards

Economic Adviser, Global Engagement & Strategy Team, Bureau for Food Security
U.S. Agency for International Development 

ilsirf2017_tschirleydavid

Dr. David L. Tschirley

Professor, International Development, Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
Michigan State University

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ilsi17-annual-meeting-logo-hThe International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) is a worldwide network of non-profit organizations that encourage multi-sectoral dialogue and support collaborative science. The ILSI Annual Meeting is a unique opportunity that brings together experts from government, academia, private sector and non-governmental organizations, to address global issues related to food and water safety, nutrition and health, risk science and toxicology, and sustainable agriculture and nutrition security.

Program

Organized by ILSI, ILSI North America, ILSI HESI and the ILSI Research Foundation, this five-day event focused on advancing science to address real world problems. The program featured:

  • Scientific sessions
  • Keynote lectures
  • Networking events
  • Poster session
  • Branch meetings
  • Board of Trustees, Advisory Council and Working Group meetings

To view the entire schedule for the Annual Meeting, click here.

Scientific Session

On January 23, 2017, the ILSI Research Foundation hosted a scientific session at the ILSI Annual Meeting titled Hungry Cities: The Global Revolution in Food Systems. View the agenda and presentations here.

Accomodations

The ILSI Annual Meeting will be held at the Hilton Torrey Pines, 10950 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California, 92307.

The ILSI Research Foundation has secured a special discounted rate at the Hilton for reservations made by December 19. Register for your hotel accommodations online or by phone 1-858-558-1500.  Please be sure you have received an invitation to Annual Meeting before you make your hotel reservations. Please contact Emily Grossberg about receiving an invitation: egrossberg@ilsi.org

For additional travel information, please click here.

Social Media

Join the conversation!

Tweet along with @ILSIRF and other participants using the hashtag #ILSI17.

Why Attend

Gain new insight on the latest science from highly respected scientific experts

Network with 350+ attendees from multi-sectoral fields

Exchange ideas and gain new perspectives

Renew and strengthen current partnerships

Stay informed about programs organized by ILSI’s entities

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Crop Health and Its Global Impacts on the Components of Food Security

This article attempts to develop a framework that would enable assessment of the impacts of plant diseases, referred collectively to as crop health, on food security via its components. Given the number of components and interactions at play, a systems modelling approach is required to address the functioning of food systems exposed to plant disease risks.

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Legacy Work

Condensed and Centralized Food Safety Information

Finding accurate and reliable information about the safety of foods derived from genetically engineered plants can be daunting, particularly for regulators who may not have a specific application on their desk. This information is essential for risk assessors and regulators who may need to make decisions regarding the safety of small amounts of genetically engineered material which may inadvertently enter the country without authorization, also known as low-level presence.

The ILSI Research Foundation has published monographs which provide a comprehensive review of food safety information and data for each of four novel proteins found in some genetically engineered plants: the EPSPS and PAT/BAR proteins that confer herbicide tolerance, and the Cry1Ac and Cry1Ab proteins that confer insect resistance.

The documents review the safety of these proteins and provide links to publications, regulatory dossiers and decision documents.

Safety Assessment of Food Derived from Modern Biotechnology (IFBiC)

From 1997-2013, the ILSI International Food Biotechnology Committee (IFBiC) served as a biotechnology resource that aided science-based decision-making in food and feed crop safety assessments. IFBiC’s core programs on harmonization, outreach, and education addressed issues related to the development, distribution, and safety of foods and feed developed through modern biotechnology. Click on the links below to learn more.

A Look at Product Development with Genetically Modified Crops: Examples from Maize

Plant breeding for crop genetic improvement involves the cycle of creating genetic diversity and exploiting that diversity to derive an improved cultivar with outstanding performance for specific traits of interest. This article contains proceedings from the 2012 IFBiC Plant Compositional Analysis Workshop.

Read more

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