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Biological contamination of crops and the food chain

Specific challenge: The occurrence of biological contamination in various crops is of major concern as it has major implications for food and feed safety, food security and international trade. Worldwide, it is estimated that mycotoxins are responsible for losses of up to 5-10% of crop production. Contaminations are due to a series of events including weather conditions,   possible climate change effects, land use, crop management and varieties as well as harvest and post-harvest techniques. Integrated approaches rather than isolated solutions are required to effectively control the incidence of mycotoxins in crops and reduce contamination throughout the feed and food chains.

Scope: Proposals should aim at reducing the risk of mycotoxin contamination in crops and all along the feed and food chains. They should bring about technical, management and organisational solutions that are effective at the various stages of production as well as at pre- and post-harvest levels and also deal with the safe use of contaminated batches. Proposals should take into account the development of ICT solutions as well as reliable and cost effective control tools and support policies in the area. Proposals should benefit conventional and organic supply chains and fall under the concept of 'multi-actor approach'[1] and allow for adequate involvement of the farming sector in proposed activities. In line with the objectives of the EU strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation and in particular with the implementation of the EU-China dialogue, proposals are encouraged to include third country participants, especially those established in China[2].

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 3–5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

         a toolkit (plant resources, management tools, technologies) to effectively monitor and reduce the incidence of mycotoxin contaminants in crop production as well as in the food and feed supply chains.

         contribution to legislation and standard setting

         safe use options for contaminated batches

         reduced occurrence of mycotoxin contamination in crops in order to improve productivity and competitiveness of European agriculture and food sectors.

         reduced risks for human and animal health, and thus increase consumer confidence in agro-food products.

         contribution to long-term collaboration with China on food safety.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions

[1] See definition of 'multi-actor approach' in footnote 1 in the introduction of this Work Programme part.

[2] This is without prejudice to the general rules on the funding of legal entities from third-countries, as set in part A of the annex to the work programme.