Speech by Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry Of Trade And Industry at the Opening Ceremony of NYP Inaugural Tripartite Conference with Jiangnan University and University of California (Davis)

Published Date: 14 September 2016 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Mr Thambyrajah T, Registrar, Nanyang Polytechnic

Professor Zhou Peng, Professor and Associate Dean, Jiangnan University

Dr Carl Winter, Vice Chair, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Good morning. I am delighted to be here today for the inaugural tripartite conference between Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), Jiangnan University, and University of California, Davis on “Insights to Emerging Trends in Food Science and Technology”.

Food Safety

2. Singapore is known as a “Food Paradise”, because of the good variety of food options here. Whether it is a meal from an F&B outlet or a food product from a supermarket, consumers are generally confident that the food here is safe for consumption. However, many of us do not realise the extent of efforts that goes behind the scenes to upholding our food safety standards. With imports making up for more than 90% of Singapore’s food supply, food safety and security are absolutely crucial for Singapore.

3. Globalisation has made it easier for us to sample various cuisines, and it has in turn created a demand for diverse types of food from all over the world. As the global food supply chain becomes ever more interconnected, there is an increasing need to ensure high standards to minimise any safety lapse. So it has become increasingly important to continually develop new and suitable testing methods in order to ensure the safety of food products throughout the supply chain.

4. Today’s collaboration between Nanyang Polytechnic and bioMérieux to set up the rapid food microbiology testing centre is a great step forward to develop advanced testing methods in food safety. While traditional microbial testing requires considerable manpower and time, the centre uses advanced technologies to automate and speed up the process. These technologies include the automated rapid microbial system that bioMérieux will be showcasing at this conference. The centre will also conduct R&D to develop and validate rapid food safety testing methods for ISO accreditation, as well as provide consultancy on rapid testing methods to SMEs.

Food Innovation

5. The food industry has to innovate to meet the changing demands of consumers’ lifestyles and needs. An example is the optimised method for meat marination that NYP developed for Zingrill, which owns and manages restaurants like Seoul Garden and BREEKS Café. This improved efficiency and ensured better product consistency. The project also examined how the cook-chill process could be used for marinated meats – where the food is fully cooked and then rapidly chilled. This helped to better manage the food production schedule and reduce waste, while maintaining the flavour and appearance of food.

6. Another NYP innovation is a herbal beverage with reduced sugar that was created with Pure Orient Global Limited in response to the war against diabetes. Sugar alternatives such as Stevia and Erythritol were used as Stevia helps to control insulin and sugar levels in diabetic patients, while Erythritol is tooth-friendly – a welcome relief to parents of young kids.

Partnership with Industries

7. Such food innovations are possible because of the tireless and collaborative efforts of many passionate people in this field. International collaborations, such as the MOU that will be signed today between NYP, Jiangnan University, and the University of California, Davis, provide avenues for institutions to share training methodologies that can enhance coaching or skills transfer from institution to industry and vice versa. Through these international collaborations, NYP food science and nutrition students will be exposed to the technology and product innovations in the Chinese and American markets. They will also be privy to emerging industry trends, and stand to pick up key skills that will prepare them well for the food industry both locally and globally. Conferences like today’s provide a forum for professionals to learn and keep abreast of new innovations in their fields of work and expertise. This never-ending quest to learn is part of our lifelong learning culture.

8. Industry partners play a key role in developing collective knowledge and individual expertise. It is heartening to see NYP working closely with industry partners on various projects – such as food development, shelf life or microbial testing, nutritional analysis, and the validation of health claims. These efforts involve both NYP staff and students, and often extend learning beyond the classroom. NYP is also working closely with the industry to help F&B workers deepen their skills.

9. I would like to encourage all the players in the food industry to collaborate with our education institutions. Together, you can enjoy the synergy and benefits of well-skilled students and workers. There are many opportunities for you to tap into, as you can join forces to explore new food development technologies and ways of testing to gain an edge in today’s evolving market.

10. Thank you once again for inviting me here today. I wish you a fruitful conference.

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