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MoniQA Conference investigates analytical challenges and socio-economic impact of food hazards

Contributed by: RTD Services

The 2nd International MoniQA Conference (June 8-10, 2010, Krakow) conference set out the state of the art on managing emerging and persisting food scares and the related analytical challenges and socio-economic impact that are connected with this issue.
The 2nd International MoniQA Conference formed a multidisciplinary bridge between the daily concerns of citizens, economic considerations and food and nutrition science. In nine technical sessions the conference set out the state of the art concerning food safety standards, mycotoxins & phycotoxins, food allergens, chemical contaminants, microbiological contaminants, food additives, emerging technologies for food safety assessment and food authenticity.

The interdisciplinary nature of the conference was highlighted in the opening session, which featured presentations on EU legislation for food safety and socio-economic considerations (Frans Verstraete, DG Sanco, European Commission), safety considerations of engineered nanoparticles in food (Karen Tiede, FERA) the implications of risk perception for managing and communicating food risks to the public (Gene Rowe, IFR), and a presentation about MoniQA, the global Network of Excellence contributing to reliable food safety analysis and better regulations (Roland Poms, ICC)

Other sessions included cross-disciplinary aspects as well, such as the impact of food safety standards on international trade and developing countries (Session 2), the impact of the Irish dioxin crisis (Session 5) as well as the question whether food contamination can and has been used as a terrorist weapon (Session 6), to name but a few. The presentations will be available for download at the conference website (www.moniqa.org/krakow2010). The 3rd International MoniQA Conference is scheduled for 27-29 September 2011, in Varna, Bulgaria.

The different angles and approaches of the many presentations that were given during the three conference days highlight the fact that the event brought together a diverse audience of about 200 food quality and safety scientists and trainers, food safety managers from industry, academia and regulatory bodies as well as representatives from food manufacturers, retailers and providers of rapid and high throughput analytical methods and instruments. The event was also of interest to food quality and HACCP practitioners, standardisation and validation organisations as well as representatives of consumer and trade organisations. Also included was a poster presentation and a “MoniQA Best Poster Award”. Additionally, the conference featured results from the related projects BioCop (www.biocop.org) and CONffIDENCE (http://www.conffidence.eu)

What is MoniQA?

MoniQA (Monitoring and Quality Assurance in the total food supply chain) is an EU-funded project which involves experts from around the globe collaborating to harmonise worldwide food quality and safety monitoring and control strategies. MoniQA focuses on validation of and performance criteria/requirements for methods used to test staple foods and food products for safety and quality with the main focus being on rapid methods and their applicability and reliability in screening and routine testing. The initial network of over 155 scientists from 20 countries has grown to over 400 experts from over 35 countries from 5 continents in the first 24 months and has expanded further in year three to nearly 500 registered experts and 140 registered institutions. For more information go and visit MoniQA at www.moniqa.org or send an email to moniqa@moniqa.org.

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