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Food for Health Workshop

Thursday, May 5, 2016
9:00am - 4:30pm


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International Partnerships to Align Health Agendas and Research

Workshop Objectives:
The 2016 Food for Health Workshop builds on a series of workshops to enhance the health of Canadians by better understanding the challenges and opportunities across the continuum from the producer to processor, manufacturer, retailer, researcher, healthcare professional, government to consumer. The 2016 workshop specifically builds on last year's Knowledge Translation in Public Private Partnerships (PPP) workshop and how PPP can be effective for knowledge creation and translation. This year we will examine how international PPP spanning multiple countries and sectors can (1) align food, nutrition and agriculture research agendas, (2) encourage greater collaboration in research on the impact of diet and lifestyle on health and its connection with agriculture, and (3) support a culture of international collaborations and alignment in support of the Food for Health agenda and translation of that research. Join us for a thorough examination of the issues and how to take knowledge to action and education as shared by opinion leaders, industry and non-governmental agencies.

Download the Agenda 

Workshop Program

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9:00 Welcome, Introduction & Background
David Ma, CNS
9:35 JPI Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life aligning national research programmes in food, nutrition and health
Dr. Pamela Byrne, Food Safety Authority of Ireland & Joint Program Initiative HDHL
10:15 The Food Biomarker Alliance, a JPI-HDHL research project
Dr. Edith Feskens, University of Wageningen & Joint Program Initiative HDHL
10:55 Break
11:10 Building partnerships in food, nutrition and agriculture
Dr. Barbara Schneeman, United States Agency for International Development
11:50 Meeting Global Food Security Challenges
Dr. Catherine Woteki, United States Department of Agriculture
12:30 Lunch and Networking Session
1:30 TBD
Dr. Samuel Godefroy, Laval University
2:10 Partnering and Guiding in Health Claim Substantiation
Dr. Denis Peticlerc, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
2:50 Break
3:10 Guided Panel Discussion and Next Steps in International Partnerships in Food for Health
4:15 Closing Remarks
4:30 Joint Networking Session

In order of presentation

JPI Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life Aligning National Research Programmes in Food, Nutrition And Health
Dr. Pamela A. Byrne, Chair of the Management Board, JPI HDHL & CEO Food Safety Authority of Ireland

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Joint programming represents a significant change in approaching the integration of European research, focusing on and acting to mobilise public funding in seeking solutions to major challenges that affect society as a whole and not only for strengthening European economy competitiveness.

The Joint Programming Initiative a Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI HDHL), the JPI in the field of nutrition, food and health, providing for coordination of research on the impact of diet and lifestyles on health will contribute significantly to the construction of a fully operational European Research Area on prevention of diet-related diseases.

Globally, the inter-relationship between food production, human nutrition and the incidence of diet-related diseases are becoming increasingly important: high quality diets and proper physical activity are the most critical determinants in human health and for quality of life in an ageing society. At the same time, food production systems are challenged by an increasing competition for biomass and the need to improve food security and sustainable productions in rapidly changing economic and societal environments.  Consumer expectations regarding food quality, safety, are changing as well. 

Taking all these issues into account, the aim of the JPI HDHL is to better understand the factors that determine food choices and physical activity behaviours and thus human health.  Subsequently, the goal is to translate this knowledge into programmes, products, tools and services that promote healthy food choices.

The Food Biomarker Alliance, a JPI-HDHL Research Project
Dr. Edith Feskens, University of Wageningen & Joint Program Initiative HDHL

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One of the challenges in nutrition research is how to assess what usually people eat. We use food diaries, interviews or questionnaires, but all have their disadvantages; how well are people able to remember what they have eaten, what was the exact composition, and what about the portion size, etc? Hence there is an urgent need about more objective measurements to study diet and health more thoroughly.

Biomarkers are such objective measurements, and they can be measured in body fluids like plasma and urine. So far only few valid biomarkers reflecting the intake of a specific food are available. However, the recent advances in laboratory techniques such as metabolomics make the study of such biomarkers now more feasible.
The Food Biomarker Alliance (FoodBall) carries out a systematic exploration and validation of biomarkers to obtain a good coverage of the food intake in different population groups within Europe by applying metabolomics.

The FoodBall consortium includes 22 partners from 11 countries (incl. Canada) and has wide access to samples and data from large cohorts and dietary interventions with specific foods. It has unique access to state-of-the-art analytical platforms allowing measurement of thousands of metabolites/biomarkers. It also provides a platform for sharing knowledge and resources through the development of public databases on food metabolites, software tools, and chemical libraries (see for example

Building Partnerships in Food, Nutrition And Agriculture
Dr. Barbara Schneeman, Higher Education Coordinator, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

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USAID is the lead U.S. government agency working in international development; the agency was founded in 1961 to help advance progress in developing countries.  As stated in USAID's mission, "We partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity."  As a consequence, food security and nutrition are integral to our mission and the agency has published a nutrition strategy that illustrates this integration and coordination among agencies and programs ( We work in Afghanistan, Pakistan and several countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East, and program areas include food security and agriculture, human rights and governance, economic growth and trade, education, environment and global climate change, gender equity and women empowerment, global health, water and sanitation, humanitarian assistance, technology and innovation. Because of the nature of our work, partnerships are key to success and USAID has developed several mechanisms to encourage multi-sector partnerships including both public and private sector entities (  The Presidential initiative, Feed the Future, illustrates the importance of partnerships that include collaborations in food security and nutrition among governments, civil society, education, and private sector entities (

Meeting Global Food Security Challenges
Dr. Catherine Woteki, Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, USDA

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At the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), much of our work is focused on finding solutions to the unprecedented challenges facing food and agricultural systems.  Our research and education programs address five grand societal challenges:  food security both domestic and international, food safety, promoting life-long health through improved nutrition, building the bioeconomy, and developing sustainable agricultural systems resilient to climate change.  These are the priorities in the research done through both the intramural and extramural agencies at USDA, and each is a complex challenge that requires multi-faceted approaches to research.

Feeding an estimated 9 billion people by 2050 while at the same time producing renewable feedstocks to support biofuels and bio-based industries is no easy task and new approaches to research and development will be needed to maximize the return on public investment in science.  Achieving both of these goals in the face of more unpredictable weather driven by changing climate conditions is even more daunting.  The G-20 countries have recognized that a more consultative and coordinated approach to food and agricultural research should be embraced and they have committed to global platforms for collaboration in food and agricultural research.  The platforms include open access to scholarly publications, open access to data that is results from public funding, open access to plant and animal germplasm important to agriculture, improved technology transfer, enhanced national agricultural statistics programs so progress can be tracked, and a forum in which to discuss priorities and solve science policy hurdles related to food and agricultural research.  The forum is the annual Meeting of Agriculture Chief Scientists held under the auspices of the G-20.

Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) is an example of a new approach that capitalizes on the global open data movement.  Over 250 countries, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, companies and educational institutions have signed on to the GODAN principles of proactive sharing of open data to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible and usable to deal with the urgent challenge of ensuring world food security.   The initiative focuses on building high-level support among governments, policymakers, international organizations and business.  GODAN promotes collaboration to harness the growing volume of data generated by new technologies to solve long-standing problems and to benefit farmers and the health of consumers.

Dr. Samuel Godefroy, University of Laval

Partnering and Guiding in Health Claim Substantiation
Dr. Denis Peticlerc, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

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In this presentation, Dr. Petitclerc will present the science sector strategy adopted by the Science & Technology Branch (STB) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to promote innovation in the agriculture and agri-food sector. He will then explain the leadership role played by STB to assist the food industry in addressing the knowledge gap related to the scientific information required to obtain regulatory approval for health claims for novel foods and ingredients. Examples or Canadian initiatives and partnership, both national and international, to support health claims will be presented.  Looking forward, the future role of AAFC-STB from foundational research to clinical trials involving human subjects will be discussed. 

The CNS Food for Health Workshop is a partnership of:

 The Canadian Nutrition Society/la Socit canadienne de nutrition (CNS/SCN) is the leading society integrating disciplines and professions interested in nutrition ( We promote nutrition science and education, and advocate for the application of best practice and policies for the promotion of health and the prevention and treatment of disease. In its outreach to nutrition professionals and scientists, the CNS/SCN aims to provide a unified voice for those engaged in furthering nutrition as a way of maintaining health and preventing and treating disease.  As such, it will reach out not only to those whose full-time concern is nutrition, but to those allied professions and scientists whose practices and research includes a nutritional component.

About ISIL North America
The North American branch of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI North America) ( is a nonprofit foundation that plays an important role in identifying and addressing scientific questions on nutrition and food safety.  Through programs that are of mutual interest to academia, government, and industry, ILSI North America helps to resolve scientific issues for the benefit of the general public.  Outside of North America, ILSI has branches in South America, Mexico, Europe, India, Korea, Japan, North Africa and the Gulf Region, South Africa, Southeast Asia and Taiwan.  An ILSI Focal Point has been established in China and programs are also undertaken by the ILSI Research Foundation.

About Canadian Institutes for Health Research


Dr. Pamela Byrne

Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Joint Programming initiative (JPI HDHL)

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