We collaborate and partner with many industry and government organisations in order to aid in the safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a hand in people's day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink.
Our key focuses are aimed around identifying emerging issues in food authenticity and gaps in science and testing methodology that will help to protect consumers by addressing challenges like food fraud, misleading food labelling activity to improving land use policy and making science advances far more accessible.
Paul Brereton - Leader of the Project & Co-ordinator of Agri-food Research at Fera.
Comprising 60 participants from 18 European countries and one from China, FoodIntegrity's key focus will be to consolidate, harmonise and mobilise the European capability on food authentication to ensure consumer confidence and protect European added value. The 5 year (2014-2018) €12M project will reduce the current barriers to data sharing and utilisation that is crucial to combating food fraud by supplying methods and tools that will address both enforcement and industry needs. The project will not only seek to enhance early warning capabilities, but working with industry, will develop methods, systems and processes that will assure the quality, authenticity and safety of the food chain so that:
Sustainable & effective solutions to control new pests and pathogens for fruit production. Fruit crops account for 17% of the value of the EU's agricultural production and the fruit and vegetables supply chain has an estimated turnover of more than €120 billion with over 550,000 employees and around 1.4 million growers. It is estimated that insect pests destroy approximately 14% of all potential food production globally. Therefore it is reasonable to estimate that fruit losses from pests and pathogens accounts for over €10 billion in revenue and 3 million tonnes of produce to the EU fruit industry.
It is acknowledged that historically anti-food fraud capability within Europe has not been consolidated and lacks the coordination and support structures available to those working in food safety. There are various initiatives underway to redress this balance e.g. DGSante's Food Fraud network, DG Research's FoodIntegrity project, as well as numerous national programmes and industry initiatives. A key area that still needs to be developed is the bringing together of national research funding bodies in order to work more closely together, enhance collaboration, pool resources where appropriate and develop a shared strategic research agenda. Authent-Net comprises a core group of 19 participants from 10 MS, 1 NGO and the US, who are either National research funding bodies; experts in food authenticity, and/or experts in transnational funding mechanisms. AUTHENT-NET will:
The two year project will have the following expected impacts: improved coordination and communication between relevant MS research budget holders; enhanced cognisance of existing national research; joint strategy for food fraud R&D; agreed priorities and capability to deliver transnational European research on food fraud.
Olive oil adulteration Europe is currently the largest producer of olive oil accounting for more than 70% of the world's production. Nevertheless, non-EU countries are expanding their domestic production, increasing the competitiveness of the global olive oil market. This increased competitiveness, combined with expanding markets and a lack of efficient and harmonised analytical methods for detecting olive oil fraud has led to significant weaknesses that can be exploited by counterfeiters. The high price of olive oil, the distinctive sensory profile, and its reputation as a healthy source of dietary fats also makes olive oil a target for adulteration or illegal blending with other vegetable oils or deliberate mislabelling of less expensive classes of olive oil. As a result, olive oil adulteration for the purpose of financial gain has become one of the biggest sources of agricultural fraud in the EU. So the OLEUM project started on 1st September 2016 and will run for four years. Twenty partners covering fifteen countries, bring together competences from food analysis, food legislation, industrial equipment engineering, bioinformatics, communication and knowledge exchange. The overall objective of OLEUM is to better guarantee olive oil quality and authenticity by empowering detection and fostering prevention of olive oil fraud. This overall objective is supported by three strategic objectives:
A four year project with almost €7 Million EU finding and a consortium of 22 partners including research institutes associations, small and medium-szied private companies from ten different countries. EMPHASIS will fight native and alien pests threats including insect pests, pathogens, weeds) that damage natural ecosystems oservices and farming systems. This will ensure a European food security system that protects biodiversity and ecosystems services, while develping integrated mechanisms of response measures to predict, prevent and protect agriculture and forestry systems.
EU-China-Safe will mobilise resources in Europe and China in order to develop a cohesive partnership that will deliver a shared vision for food safety and authenticity and work towards 'mutual recognition'. Comprising 16 participants from the EU and 12 from China, EU-China-Safe contains the key organisations, from Government and industry, that will be needed to develop and jointly implement major advances in fighting food fraud and improving food safety in the two trading blocks. EU-China-Safe will build the core components of an EU-China food control system: food control management, food legislation, food inspection, food control laboratories, and food safety and quality information, education and communication.
The project will develop an EU-China Joint Laboratory Network that will achieve and demonstrate equivalency of results, and will develop a state of the art virtual laboratory, with interchangeable staff from two continents, that will be used as a 'showcase' to communicate and demonstrate best practice. Innovative traceability tools will strengthen the most vulnerable supply chains. New or improved detection capabilities for chemical/microbiological hazards and food fraud will be implemented in a harmonised way across the EU-China network. Trade barriers caused by food safety and fraud issues will be analysed and recommendations of how to predict and prevent future events disseminated.
The project will focus on the most commonly reported foods linked to chemical and microbiological contamination and fraud (infant formula, processed meat, fruits, vegetables, wine, honey, spices). Substantial knowledge transfer and training actions will build high-level and long-term collaboration, synergies and trust between a wide range of EU and China actors. These advances, in addition to a wider range of confidence building measures towards food safety, authenticity and transparency, will address consumer expectations and facilitate an expansion of EU and China trade.
The expected launch date is April 2017.