- National Center for Food Safety and Technology
National Center for Food Safety and Technology Motto "Advancing Innovations in Food Safety and Nutrition Science" Established 1988 Field of Research Food Safety and Nutrition Science Director Robert E. Brackett, PhD Location Summit-Argo, IL, Illinois Zipcode 60501 Affiliations Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Illinois Institute of Technology, Food and Drug Administration Website www.iit.edu/ncfst/
The National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST) is a unique research consortium among the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA CFSAN), Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and the food industry. Under the cooperative agreement, NCFST was established by IIT to bring together the food safety and technology expertise of academia, industry and FDA in the common goal of enhancing and improving the safety of food for U.S. consumers. 
Located at the Moffett Campus, NCFST was created with a $6.9 million donation of seven buildings and grounds by CPC International (Corn Products Co. International) to IIT in 1988. The Moffett Technical Center consists of extensive office, laboratory and pilot plant space located in Summit-Argo in the near west suburbs of Chicago. It was built in 1948-49 and named in honor of George M. Moffett, then-president of Corn Products Refining Co.
The main building features bas relief murals created by renowned architectural sculptor Lee Lawrie (1877-1963), who is best known for his towering figure of Atlas in front of New York’s Rockefeller Center. The panels depict various scenes of the history of corn and corn production in the Americas, including a buffalo hunt showing primitive corn grass, Native Americans cultivating and harvesting corn, and American corn milling and processing. One panel, labeled "Argo," appears to be symbolic of the Moffett Technical Center itself, showing an engineer working in the pilot plant, a chemist with retorts and test tubes, and a scientist at a microscope.
For more than 20 years, NCFST has provided a neutral ground where industry, academia, and government scientists can pool their scientific expertise and institutional perspectives to address food safety and nutrition issues in a proactive manner. The NCFST is the only center where industry can work collaboratively on projects with FDA scientists on food safety, nutrition and technology research. Membership in the NCFST allows companies to gain an early insight into emerging food safety and public health issues from the CFSAN perspective to assess the safety of new technologies that may be important for innovation. This early collaboration with FDA may also facilitate speed to market through the regulatory process.
The scientists from IIT and FDA’s Division of Food Processing Science and Technology working at NCFST are experienced in the disciplines that affect food safety and quality, including food science and technology, food process engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, packaging, microbiology, and nutrition. By bringing together key players in food safety regulation and technology development, the NCFST provides a sound scientific basis for policy decisions affecting the nation’s food supply. The food industry and consumers benefit from improved processing and packaging systems that assure food safety and quality.
NCFST is a world-class national research institute that strives to:
- Provide the foundation for sound, sensible regulations leading to safer food products for consumers
- Apply excellence in research to address critical food processing issues to promote food safety, health, and well-being
- Represent a cost-effective research vehicle based on a synergy between academia, government, and industry
- Provide the food link for the IIT life sciences initiative
- Serve as a forum for industry to interact with FDA
- Provide the food industry and FDA with authoritative information on food safety and health science
Meeting the needs of its stakeholders in industry, government and academia is the overarching driver for scientific excellence at NCFST. For food manufacturing companies, NCFST offers leadership and a unique forum for resolving food safety issues. Through membership meetings and collaborative working groups and projects, companies have the opportunity to interact with FDA and IIT scientists to examine whether a given food safety issue is likely to be a real or perceived public health risk in a timely manner in order to manage their own company’s business risk and ensure compliance with FDA policy and regulation.
The role of the center in facilitating the path-to-market for technology-based innovation is also a key focus for other consortium members. Technology providers have an opportunity to partner with NCFST scientists to validate the effectiveness of specific food safety and nutrition technologies. For FDA, NCFST is a primary source for research on food processing and packaging that can respond rapidly and authoritatively to new food related public health issues, identify emerging food technologies and conduct research to help validate these new technologies. For IIT and its Research Institute (IITRI), NCFST offers the “food” link in the university’s development of a world class life sciences program aimed at science based health improvement.
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