Michigan State University is teaming up with companies in the food and drink industry to create the Center for Research on Ingredient Safety, which they hope will serve as a reliable and unbiased source for information, research, training and analysis on the safe use of chemical ingredients in consumer packaged goods including foods, beverages, cosmetics and household consumer products," the East Lansing school and the Grocery Manufacturers Association said in a statement announcing the center's creation.
The University of Michigan's Risk Science Center in its School of Public Health is also a partner in the project.
"Ensuring the safety of our products - and maintaining the confidence of consumers - is the single most important goal of our industry," said Leon Bruner, the grocery industry group's chief scientist.
The center at Michigan State University "will serve as a reliable and unbiased source for information, research, training and analysis on the safe use of chemical ingredients in consumer packaged goods," the school said in a statement.
The public should be skeptical about the results of research coming out of an industry funded and sponsored institution, said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
"To be an independent center sponsored by the industry is an oxymoron," Jacobson told The Associated Press. "If they come out for the safety of any chemical ... they'll have no credibility."
Michigan State said the ingredient safety center is modeled on similar centers of expertise at other academic institutions that focus on allergen and microbiological safety. It will include an endowed chair in ingredient safety.
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