Two teams of researchers, which are partially funded by seed grants from the Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS), have partnered with the Walmart Foundation in a bid to strengthen China’s food system and supply chain design.

The researchers are drawn from the MIT Sloan School of Management and the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation. They are working to develop predictive models to proactively manage risks related to food contamination – particularly economically motivated adulteration – in global food supply chains.

As well as strengthening China’s food system, they also hope to support industry food supply chain design, best practices, and government oversight.

Yasheng Huang, the International Program Professor in Chinese Economy and Business at MIT Sloan, and MIT Professor Anthony Sinskey, Faculty Director of MIT’s Center for Biomedical Innovation (MIT CBI), will work with Retsef Levi, the principal investigator in the food safety project.

Retsef Levi said: “Food supply chains are often under economic pressure because of a range of factors, including weather effects, epidemics like the avian flu, competitive pressure, and pricing dynamics. These pressures could create situations in which firms and individuals could benefit financially from adulterating food ingredients and products, risking the health of consumers.”

He added: “We hope this collaboration, both at MIT and with collaborators in China, makes a difference by leveraging our knowledge of food safety risks and creating risk management systems that benefit China and other countries.”

J-WAFS seed grants fund research with the potential to have a significant impact on issues of water and food supply