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Quality and integrity in food: a challenge for chain communication and research

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Increasing transparency in the food supply chain

European researchers have explored ways to make the path from farm to fork more transparent.

Climate Change and Environment

As recent scandals have shown, there is a need for clearer information about the source of the food that ends up on consumers' plates and ensure its safety and quality. An EU-funded research project, 'Quality and integrity in food: A challenge for chain communication and research' (TRANSPARENT_FOOD), assessed the best approaches to transparency and communication currently used in the food industry. Team members identified areas where additional research is needed to improve the situation. With partners from 11 universities and research institutes across Europe, the multidisciplinary team created a compendium of current best practices in transparency as well as potential new solutions drawn from research. They also identified priority areas to address deficiencies in current knowledge. Based on these two sets of findings, the project produced a strategic research agenda for the European food sector. TRANSPARENT_FOOD also created an information system scheme to exchange information and help communication between different existing and developing transparency initiatives in the industry. The two-year project, which ended in 2011, also brought together stakeholders in the food sector through a dedicated European transparency platform. This has served to raise awareness of the need for greater transparency and traceability, creating closer links between representatives of consumers, businesses and policymakers. With more complex supply chains there is a vital need for transparency, especially in a sector as closely linked to public safety as food. TRANSPARENT_FOOD is helping to protect consumers and ensure they will be able to trust the food they buy.

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