Leading scientist and McGill alumnus helps launch Chair in Food Safety


Published: 15Apr2011

McGill to serve up leadership and independent expertise in food safety and quality

Is our food safe to eat? Thanks to a new Chair in Food Safety – the first of its kind in Canada – McGill University will be at the head of the table in seeking answers to that question.

The Ian and Jayne Munro Chair in Food Safety has been kickstarted with a generous $1.5-million gift from leading food safety researcher and McGill graduate Dr. Ian C. Munro, and his wife Jayne Munro, along with an investment of $500,000 from the University. A further $1 million will be raised to ensure the Chair will be endowed in perpetuity.

Based in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the Chair will lead McGill’s newly established Food Safety and Quality Program (FSQP), an interdisciplinary teaching and research initiative. The FSQP will undertake collaborative research, offer undergraduate and graduate teaching programs, and provide the independent, third-party expertise needed for the Canadian food industry to address the complex scientific, legal and policy issues of global food safety. The appointment of the first Chair holder, a world-renowned scientist, is expected within the coming year.

“The Ian and Jayne Munro Chair in Food Safety will be the cornerstone of an internationally recognized program in food safety and quality here at McGill,” said Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum at a ceremony this afternoon at the Macdonald Campus. “The extraordinary generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Munro will ensure that McGill is a leader and an innovator in this crucial area, through our unique combination of strengths across multiple areas of research, scholarship and industry collaboration.”

“There is so much horsepower here at McGill. This is the perfect place to launch this major new program,” said Ian Munro, BSc(Agr) 1962, MSc 1967. “I have long wanted to establish a Chair in Food Safety, and McGill is certainly my first choice. Nowhere else in Canada is there a program of this quality and magnitude, delving into food safety issues.”

Currently Executive Vice-President and Senior Scientific Consultant of Cantox Health Sciences International in Mississauga, Munro has devoted his career to identifying and controlling toxic constituents in food. He explained that the FSQP will serve as an arms-length scientific authority that will take advantage of McGill’s strengths across multiple areas – agricultural and environmental sciences, law, management, medicine and science. The FSQP will also conduct joint research initiatives with the Canadian food industry.

Munro is careful to point out that many food safety problems arise from natural causes, through no fault of the food industry. “But it is certainly their responsibility to study and control these problems – and the food industry has been front and centre in conducting this research,” he said, mentioning the “tremendous support” that has already been received for the FSQP.

“Our industry partners have played a pivotal role in the creation of this new program,” said Dr. Chandra A. Madramootoo, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “The reality is that food-safety issues have been with us for decades. No one can foretell when the next outbreak will be, and our food comes from so many sources.” Madramootoo explained that McGill is uniquely placed to find solutions: “We offer expertise in every part of the food system, from the time the seed goes in the ground, right up to when the food reaches the consumer.”

An endowed Chair gives a university the means, in perpetuity, to fund world-class scholars who lead new research initiatives, attract talented students and heighten international awareness of their expertise.

This latest gift contributes to Campaign McGill: History in the Making, which is raising the funds needed to attract and retain top students and faculty, increase access to quality education, and ensure that McGill remains one of the world’s great research-intensive and student-centred universities.

For further information on Campaign McGill, visit www.mcgill.ca/campaign.

For further information on the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, visit www.mcgill.ca/macdonald/.

Note to broadcasters: for b-roll of McGill’s food laboratories available, please contact julie.c.fortier [at] mcgill.ca

View these videos to find out more about food-related research being done at McGil:

Meeting Food Industry Demands:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcBqnWaWZwg

The Obesity Pandemic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A88h0d1DOYA

Nutrients and Nutraceuticals:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--lB5JehLMs

Visit McGill’s newsroom at https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom



Contact Information

Julie Fortier
Media Relations Office, McGill University
julie.c.fortier [at] mcgill.ca
Office Phone: 
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