The online course entitled “International Training for Safer Food” came to an end on Saturday, 19 March 2022 after six days and 27 lectures, filmclips, digital lab visits and keynote speeches.
The course was held at the invitation of the Max Rubner Institut (MRI) in cooperation with the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL). MRI set its special focus on the authenticity of foodstuffs. In contrast to past years, the online format meant it was possible to admit an audience of several hundred. Altogether, nearly 500 participants from 71 countries around the globe registered for the course: from Asia, they included Indonesians, Taiwanese, Indians and Chinese; from Africa, Egyptians, Sudanese and Ethiopians. The American continent was represented, for example, by Mexicans and US Americans. There were also some participants from within the EU. In order to enable as many people as possible to take part from various time zones, the course was offered on three days at two different times.
A great deal of interest was shown in the experts’ specialist knowledge on food safely and authenticity, evidenced by the many questions posed by the audience. MRI’s contributions, which presented concrete methods for uncovering food fraud, were very well received. BVL focused on the structures for food monitoring in Germany, thus putting the various practices in a broader context. Apart from the work conducted at national level, they also reported on the action undertaken by the Länder and the European Commission. Film sequences allowed the participants insights into the work, especially of selected labs at the two institutions organising the event.
Overall, MRI and BVL were very satisfied with the results: the expert input went down well and even the technology functioned properly. The decision as to which format the event should take in future years – in-person, online or hybrid – is still under discussion. One thing is clear: for many participants, the online option was the only way they could take part.