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SFS-14b-2015 - Authentication of food products

Specific challenge: the EU is the world largest producer, consumer and exporter of olive oil. Olive oil is normally sold at a higher price than other vegetable oils and fraudulent activities are tempting. To preserve the image of olive oil, it is necessary to guarantee its quality and authenticity. Olive oil characteristics are regulated at EU level by Regulation (EEC) N° 2568/91 which establishes a list of physical, chemical and organoleptic characteristics as well as methods for their analysis. The list and the methods are updated to include the existing scientific knowledge. Yet despite these regular revisions some issues have not yet found proper solutions. In particular there is a need for the development, validation and pre- as well as co-normative activities followed by the standardization of a method for the assessment of the organoleptic characteristics based on the existing methods, reference materials and already performed research and development work. The specific challenge consists in developing, validating and harmonising analytical methods and quality parameters that specifically address technical authenticity issues. These issues concern in particular 1) the blend of extra-virgin olive oil or virgin olive oil with soft deodorised olive oil, 2) the blend of extra-virgin olive oil or virgin olive oil with other vegetable oil. Beyond the case of olive oil, there is also a strong need for better coordination of research in the area of food authenticity, integrity and traceability across the food supply chain between Member States and Associated Countries.

Scope:Proposals should address one of the following issue (B):

B. [2015] Authentication of food products

Proposals should aim at facilitating cooperation between European research funding bodies in the area of authentication of food products. They should provide the basis for an exchange of information and future collaboration in relation to a) facilitating stock taking and analysis of recent or on-going research projects in this area with an emphasis on national projects in Member States; b) identifying future research priorities in this field and complementarities between activities at Member State and international levels; and c) preparing the ground for an improved coordination of research, databases and approaches to verification of food authenticity, ensuring integrity and traceability along the food chain and across European countries. Beyond improving fraud detection, activities should aim at better anticipating and preventing frauds.  

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of 0.5 million for (B) would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: Proposals should show how some, or all, of the following impacts will be achieved:

  • increase confidence of consumers and markets in olive oil quality [A] and other food products [B]   

         improve the competitiveness of the olive oil [A] and of the food supply chain [B]

         contribute to improving capacities for fraud detection as well as for better anticipating and preventing frauds [B]

Type of action:  A: Research and innovation actions; B: Coordination and support actions