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Control of the quality and safety of food and related items (development, validation and harmonization of analytical methods)

Objective

Specific Objectives:

1) Focus on food and feed safety in the context of:
a) TSE (transmissible spongi form encephalopathy) such as animal meal in feed and central nervous tissue in meat products;
b) Mycotoxins with a particular emphasis on training to EU Accession countries;
c) Food Allergies (Initiation of a feasibility study, launching a European network in synergy with activities carried out in GMO sector, establishment of partnership for a proteomics network);
d) Microbiology (Initiation of a feasibility study);

2) Enlargement of activities on contact material:
a) Bringing the FPU into a network of excellence (with regards to ERA);
b) Food contact material;
c) Childcare articles;

3) Focus on food quality in the context of:
a) Reconstruction of BEVABS (co-ordination of wine data bank) and re-integration of the analytical techniques for other purposes within food safety and quality;
b) Organic food (continuation of feasibility study);
c) Functional foods (bringing the FPU into a network of excellence on food and nutrition, organize one or two workshops on state-of-the-art and health claims);

4) Preparation of training for enlargement countries:
a) Identification of potential problems in specific workshops;
b) Preparation of training courses;

5) Increased collaboration with IRMM and other JRC Institutes and making use of the formal collaboration agreements established with prominent European Organizations during 2001 (e.g. bilateral meetings).
Planned Deliverables:
Deliverables in 2002:
1. Safety of food and feed (PCBs) mycotoxins:
- support to TSE such as animal meals, central nervous tissue);
- Organization of a workshop on polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in feed;
- Organization of a training and workshop on analysis of PCBs and dioxins;
- Validation of a method for PCBs and dioxins;
- Development of fast methods for PCBS in dioxins in food and feed;
- Organization of a conference on analytical challenges regarding transmissible spongiform encephalopathy;
- Optimisation of a method for the determination of animal meal in feed using FT-NIR microscopy (in conjunction with a shared cost action project);
- Validation of two methods for the determination of central nervous tissue (CNT) in meat products;
- Organization of a workshop on the determination of mammalian tissue in feed;
- Method optimisation for the determination of specific veterinary drugs in feed (in conjunction with a shared cost action project);
- Method development for the simultaneous determination of fusarium mycotoxins in food;
- Validation of an alternative method to determine fumonisins (fusarium toxins);
- Validation of a simple method for aflatoxin (mycotoxin) determination in food to be used in developing countries;
- Support to CEN TC275 (horizontal food standards) and CEN TC275/WG5 (mycotoxins);
- Development of non-destructive sampling alternatives (e.g. for subsequent mycotoxin analysis);
- Training courses for accession countries in the field of mycotoxins;
- Organization of a workshop on food allergies;
- Feasibility study regarding the determination of peanut allergens in various food products including comparison of methods;
- Reconstruction of food microbiology laboratories;

2. Safety of contact materials (food packaging, childcare articles):
- Harmonization of several methods for determination of contaminants from can coatings (in collaboration with CEN TC 194);
- Method development for determination of specific adhesives from multi-layer materials;
- Compilation of data regarding contaminants to dry food;
- Investigation of migration of contaminants from baby food jars sealants;
; Investigation of effect of manufacturing processes and concentrations of phthalates in PVC toys;
- Maintaining the European reference collection of monomers and additives and of the websites (http://cpf.jrc.it/webpack/ and http://cpf.jrc.it/smt/);
- Organisation of a workshop on recycled material (in conjunction with a shared cost action project);
- Organisation of a workshop with respect to food contact material and ERA;
- Support to CEN TC 194;

3. Quality of food products (BEVABS, detection of frauds in various areas, functional food):
- Restructure of BEVABS;
- Literature review and feasibility study regarding analytical techniques for discrimination between organic and conventional food;
- Use of isotopic techniques for various food authenticity problems (e.g. hazelnut oil in olive oil, dairy products, wine) in conjunction with shared cost action projects;
- Development of the determination of polyphenols(anti-oxidants) in chocolate and search for biomarkers in human urine;
- Initiation of work in the field of functional foods (antioxidants, essential fatty acids) and consolidation of a European network on functional foods and in particular on food and nutrition (with respect to ERA);

4. Support to EU Accession countrie:
- Organization of at least one workshop on a particular food safety topic as continuation of the kick-off meeting held in December 2001;
- Identification of specific important working areas for collaboration with;
- food control laboratories from enlargement countries.
Summary of the project:
This project aims to respond adequately and independently to the consumer concerns regarding food safety and food quality. It aims to provide technical and scientific support to the implementation of EU policies in the field of food and related items (including animal feed) as well of other consumer products (childcare products, cosmetics). It is also carried out as ad-hoc support in emergency cases (e.g. ban on the use of meat and bone meal in animal feed or phthalates in childcare articles) and to anticipate problems in consumer protection (e.g. ban of central nervous tissue in meat products).
A demand driven active food control such as the harmonization and validation of analytical methods, in the field of safety and quality of food products and related items is carried out through networking with Member States laboratories to ensure consumer protection. The clients are mainly DG SANCO, DG AGRI and DG ELARG. As 2002 will be the last year of the 5th Framework Program, FPU will continue its work as foreseen with a particular focus on preparing new activities with an emphasis on health to be carried out in the 6th Framework Program (e.g. Organic Foods, Food Allergies). The FPU has also to carry out a transfer of laboratories to a new dedicated building.
See also the related EU enlargement process pre-accession (pa) project.

Rationale:
Food safety is an issue which concerns every citizen in the European Union. In order to make an appropriate risk assessment; reliable data on food contamination and composition is needed. Contamination can be caused by the use of pesticides and veterinary drugs, environmental pollution, natural toxins and also by the preparation, handling and distribution of food products. Food quality is one of the most important factors that determine consumer perception, acceptance, and attraction to a product. Market competition and consumer pressure to move away from the use of highly processed food products to natural food has motivated the development of novel foods, novel food ingredients and novel food processes. Authenticity proof and detection of fraud and the determination of compliance with labelling are in the service of the consumer and the European Community. There is a strong need for the development and harmonisation of reliable and validated analytical methods. The establishment and enlargement of databases and material banks is necessary to improve the efficiency of food control.

Funding Scheme

JRC - Joint Research Centre research

Coordinator

Institute for Health and Consumer Protection
Address

Ispra
Italy