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Food and nutrition in the 21st century

Final Report Summary - FOODCONFERENCE (Food and nutrition in the 21st century)

Executive summary:

The general objective of the project was to organise conference 'Food and nutrition in 21st century' within the framework of Polish Presidency in the in the European Union (EU) Council. The event was approved by the Inter-ministerial Committee for Polish Presidency and it was introduced into the official programme, with Ministry of Science and Higher Education and Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture named as co-organisers. In recognition of the importance of the food and nutrition for European economy and for health and well-being of European citizens, the organisation of Conference was also supported by European Commission (EC) with a grant to named beneficiary, Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture, within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

The conference aimed at gathering stakeholders important for development of agri-food sector and initiate an overall discussion on present and future challenges to European agri-food industry and analysis of trends in food and nutrition research and technology. The specific objectives of the conference were to:

- identify technological, environmental, social and economic challenges to agri-food industry and to food security and safety in European and global dimensions and to propose means for their mitigation;
- identify major trends in food and nutrition research;
- suggest recommendations for European and national research and innovation policies in the area of agriculture, food and nutrition;
- identify the main drivers and potential tensions linked to the societal issues and to elaborate scenarios of growth.

The conference took place on 8-9 September in Warsaw, Poland. It was attended by more than 500 participants from all over the Europe, representing science, industry, governmental agencies and civil societies. In addition, around 900 people observed debate via on-line Internet transition. The keynote lectures on European and national policies in the area of food and nutrition science and technology were delivered by leading European experts. During panel sessions, the following topics were discussed:

- sustainability in the food chain;
- food quality and safety;
- nutrition and European population health and well-being.

The general conclusion from the debate was that the main driving force on the global food market will be high economic growth in developing countries, especially in China and India. Increasing personal incomes and shift from rural to urban population will result in increased demand for quality food and change consumption pattern from cereals and other staples to vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy, and fish and to ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook, processed food products. On the other hand, there will be regions in the world where population will suffer from undernourishment, driven by high birth rate and economic underdevelopment but also by global competition over resources, including energy, land, water, and minerals. Therefore, increase of global food production and reduction of food waste will be one of the priorities in the coming decades.

In developed countries, the main focus will be on obesity and diet-related disorders, which will become one of the major population health problems. Growing consumers' awareness of the role food health benefits, driven by widespread government campaigns, will increase the demand for healthy personalised diets, designed basing on genetic set-up and social / professional environment of an individual consumer.

The European agri-food sector will remain the important part of European bioeconomy, instrumental for food security and safety and for well-being of European citizens. It will be still a major player on the international food market, but interdisciplinary approach in research, close cooperation of science with industry and development of new technologies (inter alia biotechnology, nanotechnology, nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics) are necessary to maintain its competitiveness and improve innovativeness. The outcomes of the conference were made available to general public through published proceedings, available also at conference's website (see http://foodconference2011.inhort.pl online for further details) and reports published in professional journals and webpages.

Project context and objectives:

Food industry is one of the most important sectors of European economy. It produces 965 billion worth of goods, which accounts for 12.9 % of total manufacturing turnover and 2 % of EU's Gross domestic product (GDP). It employs over 4.4 million people, which constitutes 13.5 % of the total employment in the EUs manufacturing sector. Additionally, over 11 million people (2.3 % of the population of the enlarged EU) are employed in the agricultural sector, many of whom live in rural or less developed areas of Europe. However, recent analyses show that competitiveness of the EU agri-food industry is decreasing. The expenditures on Research and development (R&D) in EU agri-food industry are at a low level and stagnated. The scenarios for next several years indicate that the competitiveness of EU food industry will deteriorate further unless its innovativeness and the productivity level will significantly improve. Given the size and importance of this sector, such development may have a detrimental effect on the European economy as a whole.

Food, besides being the source of nutrients, also provides a number of bioactive substances like flavonoids, terpenes and other antioxidants, dietary fibre, some peptides, polyols, innulin, plant stanols and sterols, polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially these with double bound at omega-3 position, and some trace elements like selenium, which, if regularly consumed, can prevent or significantly decrease the probability of a number of diet-related disorders. On the other hand, some other food components like saturated fatty acids, trans isomers of unsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol or salt (sodium) have negative effects on human health. Serious deleterious effects have also excessive food consumption, especially high in fat and carbohydrates. The European health reports show that obesity and other diet-related disorders are the major causes of deaths. Of particular concern is the rising incidence of overweight and obesity in children.

The challenges to food industry and nutrition are well recognised by EU and they are addressed in several strategic documents. However, there is still a need for a throughout discussion of all the aspects of food and nutrition research and policy, with major players, like representatives of policy makers, consumers, agriculture, industry and science. Thus, the Polish food technology platform, upon consulting Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, come up with an initiative to organise a conference 'Food and nutrition in 21st century' within Polish Presidency in the EU Council. In recognition of the importance of the food and nutrition for European economy and for health and well-being of the European citizens, the organisation of conference was supported by EC with a grant within FP7.

The general objective of the conference was to gather all stakeholders important for development of agri-food sector, including researchers, industrialists, civil society and policy makers, with aim at providing forum for overall discussion on present and perspective challenges to European agri-food industry, including analysis of trends in food and nutrition research and technology. The specific objectives of the conference were to:

- identify technological, environmental, social and economic challenges to agri-food industry and to food security and safety in European and global dimension;
- identify major trends in food and nutrition research;
- suggest recommendations for European and National research and innovation policies in the area of agriculture, food and nutrition;
- identify the main drivers and potential tensions linked to the societal issues and to elaborate scenarios of growth.

The conference took place on 8-9 September at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland. It was attended by more than 500 participants from all over the Europe, representing science, industry, governmental agencies and civil societies. During plenary session, the keynote lectures on European and national policies in the area of food and nutrition science and technology were delivered by the following speakers: Prof. Maciej Banach, Vice-Minister of Science and Higher Education; Dr Marek Sawicki, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development; Dr Maive Rute, Director, Directorate E - Biotechnologies, Agriculture, Food, EC; Prof. Elke Anklam, Director, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, ECs Joint Research Centre; Dr Michael E. Knowles, Chairman, European Technology Platform â?œFood for life; Geoff Tansey, Independent consultant, UK / Trustee, Food Ethics Council and Prof. Andrsej Babuchowski, Chairman of the Polish food technology platform, Minister-counsellor for Agriculture and Fisheries at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland to the EU.

During panel sessions, the following topics were discussed:

- sustainability in the food chain;
- food quality and safety;
- nutrition and European population health and well-being.

The general conclusion from the debate was that the main driving force on the global food market in the first decades of 21st century will be high economic growth in developing countries, especially in China and India. Increasing personal incomes and shift from rural to urban population will result in increased demand for quality food and change consumption pattern from cereals and other staples to vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy, and fish and to ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook, processed food products. On the other hand, there will be regions in the world where population will suffer from undernourishment, driven by high birth rate and economic underdevelopment but also by global competition over resources, including energy, land, water, and minerals. Therefore, increase of global food production and reduction of food waste will be one of the priorities in the coming decades.

In developed countries, the main focus will be on obesity and diet-related disorders, which will become one of the major population health problems. Growing consumers' awareness of the role food health benefits, driven by widespread government campaigns, will increase the demand for healthy personalised diets, designed basing on genetic set-up and social/professional environment of an individual consumer.

The European agri-food sector will remain the important part of European bioeconomy, instrumental for food security and safety and for well-being of European citizens. It will be still a major player on the international food market, but interdisciplinary approach in research, close cooperation of science with industry and development of new technologies (inter alia biotechnology, nanotechnology, nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics) are necessary to maintain its competitiveness and improve innovativeness.

The experts pointed out on the following areas which shall be the priorities for the R&D in the second decade of 21st century:

- biotechnology, including genetic engineering and green technologies in production of food and raw materials for industry;
- Genetically modified organism (GMO) safety for consumers and the environment;
- Europe-wide campaign on the benefits and the risks involved;
- nanotechnology in food and packaging;
- evaluation of potential risks of nanotechnology to consumers and the environment;
- integration of food processing and packaging in one technological chain;
- intelligent and safe for the environment (biodegradable) food packages;
- sustainable food production under the condition of climate change; rational use of natural resources: soil, water and energy;
- reduction of food wastage;
- food safety;
- full traceability of products and producers along the whole chain of production, storage and retail;
- reverse engineering adapting products and process to the preference, acceptance and the needs of the consumers;
- nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics as a base for personalised diet tailored to the needs of individual consumers;
- social, behavioural, environmental, biochemical and genetic factors influencing the incidence of overweightness and obesity;
- Europe-wide campaign to educate consumers on importance of proper nutrition in preventing the diet-related diseases.

Project results:

Rationale and objectives

Food industry is one of the most important sectors of European economy. It produces 965 billion worth of goods, which accounts for 12.9 % of the total manufacturing turnover and 2 % of Europe's GDP. It employs over 4.4 million people, which constitutes 13.5 % of the total employment in the EU's manufacturing sector. Additionally, over 11 million people (2.3 % of the population of the enlarged EU) are employed in the agricultural sector, many of whom live in rural or less developed areas of Europe. The total value added produced by food industry is over 199 billion, which constitutes 11 % of the total value added in manufacturing the EU. Over the last decade this industry has had relatively low, but stable growth in both production (1.8 %) and value added (1.1 %). However, recent analysis show that competitiveness of the EU agri-food industry is decreasing, which is mainly due to a high labour cost and other environmental and social constraints, as compared to developing countries, but also due to low innovativeness of European agri-food industry. The expenditures on R&D in EU agri-food industry are at a low level and stagnated, as compared to whole industrial sector, whereas the R&D expenditure levels are higher and continue to increase in most of the competitors on the world food market. The scenarios for next several years indicate that the competitiveness of EU food industry will deteriorate further unless its innovativeness and the productivity will significantly improve. Given the size and importance of this sector, such development may have a detrimental effect on the European economy as a whole.

Significant, but understudied impact on food production and competiveness of European food industry will also have global climate warming. On one hand, increased atmospheric CO2 concentration and temperature will increase net photosynthesis rate, which may result in higher crops, providing that nutrients and soil water content are at optimal level. It is estimated that global warming will result in an increase of rainfall in some areas and an increase of atmospheric humidity and the duration of the wet seasons, which would favour cultivation of hygrophilous crops, like rice. However, most of the climatic models predict a decrease of total precipitation large areas used for food production, which will result in negative soil water balance, and in borderline conditions, desertification. There are large uncertainties about the potential for adaptation of various biota to climate changes. Most agronomists believe that at the present pace of changes natural selection and adaptation will be not sufficient. Unless a big progress in plant breeding will be made, possibly with the help of bioengineering, a significant in significant global reduction of food crops shall be expected.

Besides economic importance, the food industry is instrumental in securing food security as well as health and well-being of European citizens. Food is a source of essential nutrients, but also provides a number of bioactive substances like flavonoids, terpenes and other antioxidants, dietary fibre, some peptides, polyols, plant stanols and sterols, polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially these with double bound at omega-3 position, and some trace elements like selenium, which, if regularly consumed, can prevent or significantly decrease occurrence of a number of diet-related disorders. On the other hand, some other food components like saturated fatty acids, trans isomers of unsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol or salt (sodium) have negative effects on human health. Serious deleterious effects have also excessive food consumption, especially of this high in fat and carbohydrates. The European health reports show that obesity and other diet-related disorders are the major causes of deaths. The average consumption of dietary fat in EU is 148 g per capita per day, which exceeds more than twice the daily fat intake recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO). What is more, this high-fat diet is usually accompanied by low fruit and vegetable consumption, thus is low in vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fibre. In effect, more than 15 % adults in EU are now obese and 30 % overweighed, which is associated with increased health problems, including heart and coronary diseases, type II diabetes and cancer. Of particular concern is the rising incidence of overweight and obesity in children.

The reading and partial mapping of human genome have opened new frontiers in nutrition studies and led to developing new fields of science nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics. During the last several years a number of genes have been identified conferring specific reaction of human organisms to different food components and it has been demonstrated that individual predispositions to certain diet-related disorders are linked to polymorphism within a single gene or gene cluster. Although there are still many unknowns, it is estimated that within several years the diet will be individually designed for a given consumer based on his / her genetic makeup.

The challenges to food industry and nutrition are recognised by EU and they have been addressed in several strategic documents. There is also a good understanding of the need for basic and applied research in these areas, which is articulated by EC in its research policy; the topics related to food and nutrition have been present in all FPs and several other European research programmes like COST, joint programming initiatives, EUREKA and others. However, there is still a need for a throughout discussion on various aspect of food, nutrition and health and on research priorities in those areas. Thus, the Polish Food Technology Platform and Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture, upon consulting Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, come up with an initiative to organise a conference 'Food and nutrition in 21st century' within Polish Presidency in the EU Council. The general objective of the conference was to gather all stakeholders important for development of agri-food sector, including researchers, industrialists, civil society and policy makers, with aim at providing forum for overall discussion on present and perspective challenges to European agri-food industry, including analysis of trends in food and nutrition research and technology.

The specific objectives of the Conference were to:

- identify technological, environmental, social and economic challenges to agri-food industry and to food security and safety in European and global dimension;
- identify major trends in food and nutrition research;
- suggest recommendations for European and National research and innovation policies in the area of agriculture, food and nutrition;
- identify the main drivers and potential tensions linked to the societal issues and to elaborate scenarios of growth.

The proposal was accepted by the Inter-ministerial Committee for Polish Presidency and the conference ' Food and nutrition in 21st century' was introduced into official programme of the Presidency, with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture from Skierniewice named as the co-organisers. In recognition of the importance of the food and nutrition for European economy and for health and well-being of European citizens, the organisation of Conference was also supported by EC with a grant to named beneficiary, Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture, within FP7.

In a meantime, the Institute of Pomology and Floriculture was merged with the Institute of Vegetable Crops into Institute of Horticulture. The new Institute inherited all the privileges, tasks and obligations of its predecessors, including also the task of organising the conference 'Food and nutrition in 21st century'. Thus, it was also a beneficiary of the grant agreement, which was signed on 19 May 2011.

Organisational set up

Prof. Barbara Kudrycka, the Minister of Science and Higher Education, authorised Dr Krsysstof Gulda, the Director of the Department of Strategy, to represent the Ministry in the Programme Committee of the Conference and Ms Magdalena Kula, Ministry's spokeswoman for Polish Presidency issues, to represent the organisers in the media. For working contacts with the Institute of Horticulture she delegated Ms Monika Rzepecka. The person supervising the organisational works at the Institute of Horticulture was prof. Lech Michalczuk, the coordinator of the FOODCONFERENCE project, who became the Chairman of the organisational committee. During the first meeting of the representatives of the organisers it has been decided to invite the Polytechnic and Polish national contact point for research programmes of the EU as supporting organisers, without financial contribution to the organisation of the conference, and to invite Dr Marek Zawicki, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, to provide substantive patronage of the conference. The invitations were accepted.

The final list of the organisational committee consisted of the following persons, selected on the base of their experience in organising similar events:

Prof. Lech Michalczuk, Research Institute of Horticulture chairman
Prof. Franciszek Adamicki, Research Institute of Horticulture
Ms Agnieszka Antosiak, Research Institute of Horticulture
Prof. Eugeniusz Chyek, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Prof. Ryszard Kosson, Research Institute of Horticulture
Prof. Maria Koziokiewics, Technical University of Lods
Dr Barbara Michalczuk, Research Institute of Horticulture
Ms Agnieszka Peka, Research Institute of Horticulture
Prof. Witold Pocharzki, Research Institute of Horticulture
Dr Krzysztof Rutkowski, Research Institute of Horticulture
Ms Monika Rzepecka, Ministry of Science and Higher Education
Dr Lidia Sas Paszt, Research Institute of Horticulture
Dr Ewa Sski, national contact point of European research programmes.

At the peak of activities, the organising committee was reinforced with several more people, mainly the employees of the Institute of Horticulture.

Upon considering several locations, the organisational committee has decided that the conference will take place at the Royal Castle in Warsaw (see http://www.samek-krolewski.pl online for further details), the former residence of Polish Kings and Presidents located at the Old Town within walking distance from several hotels and with convenient access by public transport.

The candidates for members of the programme committee were proposed by Prof. Lech Michalczuk and, upon approval by organisational committee, the invitations were sent to the following persons:

Prof. Andrsej Babuchowski, Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland to the EU
Prof. Stanisaw Bielecki, Technical University of Lods, Poland
Prof. Luca Corelli Grapadelli, University of Bologna, Italy
Prof. Mike Gibney, Institute of Food and Health, University College Dublin, Ireland
Prof. Mirosław Jaross, Institute of Food and Nutrition, Warsaw, Poland
Prof. Dietrich Knorr, University of Technology, Berlin, Germany
Prof. Cristina Nerin, University of Saragosa, Spain
Dr Christian Patermann, former Director of Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food Research, Research Directorate general, EC
Mr Geoff Tansey, Independent consultant, UK / Trustee, Food Ethics Council
Prof. Mieke Uyttendaele, University Ghent, Belgium.

All of them responded positively. In addition Prof. Lech Michalczuk and Dr Krsysstof Gulda become the members of the Committee as representatives of the organisers. During a meeting on September 8th Dr Christian Patermann and Prof. Lech Michalczuk were elected as co-chairman.

Pre-conference organisational works

The conference office equipped with telecommunication connections (telephones, fax, Internet) computers, printers, copiers and other office appliances was organised at the Institute of Horticulture. It was staffed with two part-time institute's employees with a good command of English.

The organisational committee has asked for, and was granted the privilege of using the official logotype of Polish Presidency on all the materials related to the conference.

The logotype of the conference was designed at the Institute of Horticulture and approved by organisational committee.

The conference webpage was designed (software and graphic design) at the Institute of Horticulture and installed at its server at http://foodconference2011.inhort.pl. The webpage provided the information about the objectives of the conference and the programme, contact information and an option for on-line registration for the conference alone or both for the conference and preconference trip.

The information about the conference was posted at webpages of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Polytechnic, Polish national contact point of the research programmes of the EU and all national contact points in EU member countries, and on the webpage of Polish Food Technology Platform. The invitations via e-mail were sent by Conference Office's staff to app. 1 500 persons following the address databases of the Institute of Horticulture and Polytechnic and by regular post to approximately 150 persons. The personal invitations to high ranking officials were issued by the Minister of Science and Higher Education. The posters with the information about the conference were presented on several mayor events, like conferences, workshops and open days. The registration was closed on 10 August when the number of registered participants exceeded 650.

The conference materials (bag, writing pad, pencil, memory stick, leaflet) were designed at the Institute of Horticulture and manufactured by the provider selected in public procurement, the Mazurkas Travel.

Execution of the conference

Preconference trip

A total of 50 persons registered for preconference trip, but only 31 have actually participated. In addition, 6 journalist invited by the organisers, joined the trip. The first place visited was the Institute of Horticulture, which is located in Skierniewice some 70 km west of Warsaw. Upon arrival, the participants were welcomed by the Director of the Institute, Prof. Franciszek Adamicki, and lectured on the Institute and its research programme. The Institute is the research entity supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. At present it employs 568 people, in that 45 professors, 85 doctors and 62 research assistants, which makes it the largest agricultural research institute in Poland and one of the largest in Europe. The research programme of the Institute covers all areas related to fruit, vegetable, ornamental plant and bee sciences, from basic studies on physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology, through biotechnology, creative breeding, protection of genetic resources, agronomy, plant pathology, fruit and vegetable storage and processing, food safety, horticultural engineering, economics and marketing. Due to active extension and implementation programmes and close cooperation with major stakeholders, the Institute has contributed in a large extent to the development of horticultural production in Poland.

Besides research, the Institute laboratories take part in several governmental programmes on food contamination screening, quality control in organic and integrated production and are doing commercial food analysis (pesticide residues, heavy metals, nitrites / nitrates) for food producers, exporters and wholesalers. The Institute has a number of well-equipped laboratories, greenhouses and experimental fields. Selected laboratories are having certificates of conformation with requirements of the PN-EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and has implemented the Analytical quality control (AQC) programme according to method validation and quality control procedures for pesticide residue analysis in food and feed (SANCO/2007/3131). In addition, the laboratory has certificate of conformation with Good Laboratory Practice according to the Directive 2004/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. It is estimated that the Institute has 40-45 % share in commercial food analysis market in Poland.

During the tour, the guests visited experimental greenhouse, laboratory of food safety, laboratory of molecular biology, laboratory of fruit and vegetable processing and experimental fruit storage facility.

The district dairy cooperative in owics, which was visited next, is one of the oldest enterprises of this kind in Poland. Its history is dated back to 1906, when the first local dairy cooperative and processing plant was established. In 1951 the cooperative was nationalised and it was operating as state-owned company. In 1957 the cooperative was re-established. In 1971 a new cheese processing plant was constructed, with processing capacity of 120 thousands litres of milk per day. In 1991 the plant was thoroughly modernised and new processing lines were installed. Since then the cooperative was quickly expanding. It acquired several smaller dairy cooperatives and now belongs to the largest enterprises of this kind in Poland, with total processing capacity exceeding 1.3 million litres of milk per day and more than 7 000 milk suppliers / members of the cooperative. At present, plants belonging to the company are equipped with modern processing lines for long-life dairy produce (UHT), portioned creams, coffee milk and lemon juice, maturing cheeses, cottage cheeses, homogenised cheeses, fermented drinks, butter and powdered milk products. More information on the cooperative is available at http://www.mlecsarnia.lowics.pl.

The visitors were lectured on the history of the cooperative, milk production in Poland, innovative technologies of milk processing being currently implemented and plans for further development, and then had a tour of the production facilities.

Welcome walking dinner

The welcome walking dinner was organised in the Reading Hall and foyer of the Central Agricultural Library, which is located in the historic building at the centre of town, in close vicinity of the Royal Castle. The Library is supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The bibliographic collection covers publications in the area of agriculture, food and related sciences and numbers approximately 380 000 volumes, in that 207 000 books, 131 000 journals and 42 000 of special collections. The Central Agricultural Library is a deposit library of FAO.
The dinner was attended by 283 participants.

The conference proceedings

The conference's proceedings took place as planned on 9th of September 2011 at the premises of the Royal Castle. It was attended by 505 participants. The debate was also transmitted on-line through the Internet and was available through the conference's webpage. As estimated by the number of registered visitors, the transmission of selected parts of the debate was observed by 953 people. The video recordings off all the lectures, as well as PowerPoint presentations, were archived and are available at the conference's webpage.

The conference proceeded in two distinct parts. The first one was the introductory plenary session during which the keynote speakers provided information on European policy in the area of food and nutrition.

The purpose of the Panel sessions was to provide forum for discussion on challenges which European food and nutrition science and industry has to face and solutions which would mitigate them. Each started with short introductory lectures, whose purpose was to outline the problem and present thesis for discussion. The discussion was summarised and conclusion drawn during Final plenary session, which provided inputs for proposing research and technology priorities in the field of food and nutrition for the next several years.

Introductory plenary session - keynote lectures (the lectures in this and following chapters are transcribed from recorded speeches, available as video recordings at conference's website).

The role of science in addressing the challenges in area of food and agriculture
Prof. Maciej Banach, Vice-Minister of Science and Higher Education

Ladies and Gentlemen, Ministers, Ambassadors, Distinguished Guests, the fact that the conference 'Food and nutrition in 21st century' is taking place during Polish Presidency in EU council is not a coincidence since food and agri-food industry is one of our key priorities. This topic is also close to our hearts as consumers and individuals who care about the health and quality of life. The agenda of the conference covers the aspects related to both economy and social issues. The food industry is one of the key sectors of EU economy; it produces goods worth about 1 billion and employs several million people. Its main objective is to guarantee food security, which means to produce food not only in the right quantity but also in the right quality and the right properties. But at the same time, we should minimise wasting of food. It is not a trivial challenge since we need to increase food supply by 90 % in order to feed 9 billion people, which in 2050 will be living around the world. We also need to face a challenge like climate change, which will impact on the food production but also on food safety due the emergence of new pathogens of plants and farm animals. In the last years we seen mad cow disease caused by prions, dioxin scare as well as recent problems with food contamination by E. coli. In order to guarantee increase in food production, as well as environment protection, we need to use natural resources of sustainable way. We also need to increase the use of renewable energy sources. The global challenges also include social challenges; we need to guarantee sustainable social development and prevent social exclusion. We must pay particular attention to the protection of public health. It is well known that healthy food and healthy nutrition play a fundamental role in the health and well-being of our societies. As a physician I know very well what kind of challenges we have to face in the epidemics of obesity. Bad nutrition increases the incidence of cardiovascular diseases, which are the main cause of death around the world. There are extremely difficult tasks for science to face these challenges. We need to control the whole food chain starting from the primary production and ending with the food offer to the individual consumers. This requires coordinated actions at the level of the Community, regional and local as well. The organisers of the conference, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Institute of Horticulture, with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as the EC, set the ambition goals. We would like the today's meeting to provide the opportunity for discussion on current and future challenges to the agriculture and food industry with the special consideration of the role which science can play in meeting these challenges. Polish Presidency in EU comes at the time when we need to analyse and change the shape of key EU policies, such as cohesion policy, Common agricultural policy (CAP), as well as the programmes to finance research and innovation. On financing research and innovation right now goes the broad discussion on the common strategic framework which is going to be called 'Horizon 2020'. It should create a consistent and effective support system at local, regional and EU level. It should cover the next FP, as well as integrate other support programmes, such as the framework for innovation and competitiveness, European Technological Institute and others. In this context one shall mention the interim report of FP7, which was published in November 2010. It pointed out that 10 % of the best research institutes take over 80 % of resource for financing science, including that related to food and nutrition. This makes us to face enormous challenge related to balanced funding of all regions of Europe. That is why right now in the EU we are intensively working on having all the regions equally represented, so they all have an equal opportunity to gain EU assistance and funds. The Polish presidency has taken broad-reaching action to simplify the application, evaluation and then reporting. In the future framework we would like to have special dedicated programmes for small and medium enterprises, as well as small and medium research groups, which in our opinion are crucial for cooperation between science and the business, also in area of food and nutrition.

Very important issue during the Polish presidency of the EU, is the action aimed at implementing the innovations as well as building an integrated European Research Area (ERA). The challenges that are considered in EU 2020 strategy determine the directions of development of the research and the development policy. Science needs to meet current challenges also in the area of agriculture, biotechnology and social sciences, which requires common and integrated policy at EU and national levels. It needs to be based on transparent legal framework and efficient legal solutions for financing science. It should be mentioned that such solutions in the area of R&D were recently introduced in Poland, which makes Polish research institutions adapted to challenges of contemporary economy. It is also worth to underline that the current level of expenditure for R&D projects in the area of food and nutrition in Poland equals almost 240 million Polish sloty (approximately 60 million). Focusing the Polish R&D policy on global challenges has also been emphasised in National Research Programme, adopted by the Polish government in August 2011. Amongst the 7 interdisciplinary strategic directions of the programme, one is devoted to natural environment, agriculture and forestry and covers all the aspects of environment protection and agriculture, as well as food and nutrition which are the topic of this conference. To conclude, let me stress that identifying the key challenges that the European agro-industry has to face and formulating suggestions for European research policy in terms of innovation as well as implementing it as effectively is possible if all the interesting parties work together. I believe that the participation of all the eminent experts in this conference will allow us to fulfil these objectives.

EU agricultural policy to secure high quality food supply for European consumers
Dr Marek Sawicki, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

Ladies and Gentleman, Professors, Dear Participants of the Conference, Dear Guests, I would like to thank the Institute of Horticulture for organising today's conference and for making Europe interested in this topic. I would like to emphasise that European agriculture has been for years far away from solving many problems and that agricultural research does not receive enough funds. I would like the system for finding research to take account of the specificity of agriculture. When I say that agriculture is far away from solving many problems I must mention at least two issues. Let just think how the world has tackled various health problems; how many diseases originate from the food and nutrition we use. Today at this conference I would like us to answer at least partly the question how we can assist Polish and European consumers in healthcare by promoting healthy food and nutrition. Another important aspect is the issue of employment in the Europe and the World and the issue of economic development. The important role has the CAP which hopefully may be one of the key determinants of growth and development in Europe instead of being a simple redistribution of the budget and the way to pay for production capacity. The CAP was introduced almost 50 years ago when many European nations faced food shortage problems and the its main objective was to secure food safety. Since then, the food production significantly increased and nowadays the priorities are food quality and safety rather than the yields and the volume of production. Thus nowadays CAP shall be an instrument for financing innovation rather than an instrument for building barriers against competitors.

The food safety also poses challenges to science. In Europe we have developed administrative systems for quality control in agriculture and food industry and extremely important is compliance with norms and standards, traceability and labelling of products in order to provide full information to consumers on the content and origin of food products. The food quality determined the quality of life and has the impact on health and efficiency of work. Well fed, happy person is also happy to accept new tasks.

Industrialisation of food production did not promote the food quality and safety but proved to be unsustainable in terms of environmental, social and economic resources. Lengthening the food chain and transport of food products over hundreds of kilometres is costly and use fossil fuels with negative effect to the environment and climate change. Industrial agricultural production in monocultures without proper crop rotation results also in soil degradation, which is a non-renewable resource. Thus, perhaps it is the time to go back to the good production models like family farms. Polish agriculture has luckily not departed far from nature. The Polish soils are not degraded or contaminated.

To conclude, I would like to say a couple of words about biotechnology and GMO production. Dear European scientists, do no neglect this issue. Please, keep working on it more actively and keep informing if there are any treats; if there are no treats, inform about it likewise.

European research for resilient and sustainable food chain
Dr Maive Rute, the Director of the Directorate 'Biotechnologies, agriculture and food of the EC'

Ladies and Gentleman, first of all I would like to thank Polish Presidency for having given me the opportunity to be here and I must say that I am most impressed by the location of the Conference as well as by the high level of speakers and large number of participants who have come today to discuss food and nutrition in 21st century. I would like to make a special reference to bioeconomy. When we look the bioeconomy, we think about economy which is getting its raw materials from land and sea and forests in accordance with the nature and destiny. The topic of this conference is at the very core of this concept. Of course it is clear that we have first of all provide food for the population of today and tomorrow, but we also realise that people need more than just food. They need all kind of materials, clothes and so on. I believe that the task ahead for agriculture and forestry is to be able to provide not only food for the growing population but also to provide raw materials for chemical and other industries. For me, coming from EC, the research and innovation branch, and being responsible for research in agriculture, forestry, food and biotechnology, this Conference is being an excellent platform to have discussion at the highest level. I intend today to say a few words about the research we cover and lay out some of the plans and some of the most important research development we have in this field.

Sustained availability of healthy food is an issue of global dimension. There are about one billion people in the world who are going hungry and there is another billion who are overweighed or obese. So, clearly there are problems in our food distribution system. On the globalised market food safety and food security is an issue. Competitiveness of the European agri-food sector is something which we clearly see as the priority. The food industry is one of the largest job providers in Europe. Thus, to maintain these jobs and to provide even more jobs in this sector is something we should aim at. In EU, we are trying to find effective solutions with which not only the food security but also other issues would be well met. At the research and innovation side we have currently the so called theme 2 within FP7 and the research in this theme is referring to food, health and well-being as well as biotechnology, sustainable agriculture, forestry and fishery. There is a number of projects currently being funded which deals with food processing and are providing innovative inputs on novel food technology, minimalised food safety risk, improved quality management systems, resource efficiency, reduced use of energy and water, reduced waste and more efficient packaging systems. On the consumer side we support projects analysing food choice and eating habits in order to better understand the effect of different factors on consumers' behaviour and the impact of food choice on consumers' health. This research also contributes to the development and implementation of food policy and it provides the information to the consumers as well. In the area of innovation we look not only at food products and processes but also at organisational structures, which is in line with the planned reforms of the CAP, and on projects which aim at knowledge and technology transfer. I am very glad to recognise today among audience here and also on the speakers list a number of people who participate in our research projects. This is a good evidence that the projects we fund come up with usable and helpful outcomes which can be presented and share today with you.

Besides financing research, DG Research also is supporting the strengthening the ERA, which is a long term agenda aimed at coordinating research done at Member States level, creating common research infrastructure, mobilising critical mass of researchers and resources, and promote researchers' mobility. There are a number of tools already in place like: ERA network (ERA-NET), which brings together program managers, and European technology platforms, which are made of industry representatives who give inputs to programing priority lists. And there are also two new initiatives, the join programming initiatives which mobilise members States to work together at research priorities. One such an initiative is being developed in the area of healthy diet for a healthy life and the second is focused on agriculture, food security and climate change.

Recently, the European Council has adopted the Innovation Union approach. This new policy document requests that the organisation of ERA should be completed by 2014. The public consultation of this issue will be initiated soon. The long-term challenges, which were already mentioned: the globalisation, pressure on resources, the aging of population require new approach. From the research and innovations point of view, the Commission is now putting forward very important policy document; a proposal for the next multiannual financial framework called 'Horizon 2020', which is a significant step forward in financing research, from 59 billion in FP7 to about 80 billion in the Horizon 2020. In this proposal, 4.5 billion has been specifically earmarked for research and innovations in food security, sustainable agriculture and bioeconomy. This is quite remarkable because this is the only area which has clearly earmarked budget. As compared to the current level of funding, this is a great increase. In parallel, there are works going on the policy of bioeconomy, which are coordinated with works on reforms of CAP. This task cannot be achieved by just one government or by EC. We need to mobilise the wide stakeholders range. I am specifically looking here at the representatives of industry and researchers who could contribute to the creation of this new policy, but also its implementation.

Bringing food safety and nutrition into perspective: Impact on human health
Prof. Elke Anklam, Director, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, EC's joint research centre.

Professor Elke Anklam, provided background on the food safety and the quality aspects and the impact of a diet on consumers' health. She has pointed out that consumers are having very high, but sometimes conflicting expectations about the food they purchase. It shall be fresh, but also able to be stored; it should look and taste good; it shall be as natural as possible, it shall be wholesome; it shall be inexpensive and it shall be safe. The information provided on labels, as well those available from the media, are extensive but not always understandable and frequently contradictory due to many sources of information. In the consumers' view, the most important safety problems are: dioxins, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), GMOs, acrylamide, antibiotics, hormones, irradiated food, pesticides and other residues, additives (preservatives), allergens and microbiological contamination. All of them are important to some degree, but the real treat constitute the latest, as was evidenced by the recent outbreak of E. coli contamination in Europe which resulted in many deaths and economic damages to the industry and the farmers. However, it must be kept in mind that it was not just a single outbreak. There are stringent European regulations to protect consumer's health, but anyhow each year people are dying in Europe and worldwide from Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria and other infections.

Equally important for food safety is the food handling by consumers after purchase; frequent thawing frozen food during transport home, inadequate storage conditions at home and inadequate processing. The consumers are also responsible for composing their diet. The knowledge on healthy diet and life styles is not common and the daily diets are usually not balanced. It results in growing frequency of overweightness and obesity; in 2011, 1.5 billion people were overweighed worldwide, in which 500 million were obese. The big concern is increasing obesity among children. The overweight is related to chronic non communicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. However, obesity is not only caused by a diet. It is influenced by genetic background, psychological stress and socioeconomic impact. Therefore, there is a need for better understanding the determinant of obesity. On the other hand, there are about 1 billion people worldwide which are undernourished and additional 1 billion suffering malnutrition. This is a challenge to the developed countries that shall develop responsible and sustainable consumption. There are very high food safety standards in Europe, but this is not the same in some other parts of the world. In conclusion, Professor Anklam pointed out that:

- Food safety is important, however, there should be a right for comparable standards for every human-being worldwide.
- There can be a bad nutrition despite high food safety and quality standards.
- Education and training of consumers is necessary.
- Good nutrition is prerequisite for a good quality of life including healthy ageing and should be the right for everyone worldwide.

Major challenges to European agri-food industry
Dr Michael E. Knowles, Chairman of the European technology platform 'Food for life'

At the beginning of his lecture Dr Knowles presented information on ETP 'Food for life', which is industry-led, public / private partnerships. It was created in 2005 under the auspices of the confederation of the food and drink industry of the EU (CIAA). The main objective of the platform is to strengthen the European innovation process, improve knowledge transfer, unite stakeholder communities in reaching strategic research objectives and stimulate European competitiveness across the food chain. The membership of the ETP 'Food for life' is consisted of 26 national federations and 3 observers, sector associations (bakery, dairy, oils) and 19 food enterprises.

The major challenges to the European food industry, as seen by the platform, are:

- burdensome regulatory framework which inhibits innovations;
- inconsistence in European and national regulations;
- incomplete and /or inappropriate use of research;
- low investments in R&D in EU fruit industry, as compared with main competitors on the world food market;
- inadequate coordination of food research at EU and national levels;
- inefficient technology transfer, especially to Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)s;
- decreasing share in the world food market;
- consumer attitudes not favourable for food innovations;
- preference for natural food.

Potential impact:

The general objective of the conference was to provide a forum discussion on present and future challenges to European agri-food industry and on trends in food and nutrition research and technology. The specific objectives were to:

- identify technological, environmental, social and economic challenges to agri-food industry and to food security and safety in European and global dimension and to propose means for their mitigation;
- identify major trends in food and nutrition research;
- suggest recommendations for European and national research and innovation policies in the area of agriculture, food and nutrition;
- identify the main drivers and potential tensions linked to the societal issues and to elaborate scenarios of growth.

The conference was attended by more than 500 participants from all over the Europe, representing science, industry, governmental agencies and civil societies. The keynote lectures were provided by leading European experts. In the debate, which followed, more than 50 participants expressed their opinions on various aspect of agri-food production, impact of climate change, bioeconomy, food security and safety and on impact of diet on European population health and well- being. The debate was concluded with identification of the main drivers and research and technology priorities in the area of food and nutrition.

The primary end-users of the outcomes of the conference are researchers who can adopt the priorities identified during the debate in their research programmes. The technology priorities can be helpful also in planning strategic investments in food industry. The research priorities can be potentially useful also for policy maker in planning national and European research programmes.

One of the main achievements of the conference was the popularisation of the food and nutrition issues among the specialists and the general public. Prior to the conference's commencement the information about its objectives and programmes was widespread through Internet and e-mail. In effect, during the two months preceding the conference its web page had more than 20 000 visits and during the conference the on-line transmission of the proceedings, available through the web-page, was observed by more than 900 people. All the video recordings were archived and made available at the web page.

The information about the conference was broadcasted during the News at nationwide public television (TV) and Warsaw regional TV, and post conference reports were published in professional journals and webpages, which additionally raised the public interest in the food and nutrition issues. The public interest was evidenced by frequent visits at the conference's webpage during the 6 months following the conference; in total over 50 000. The most popular among Internet users were the video recordings of the lectures: genetically modified food by Prof. Tomass Twardowski, obesity and other diet-related disorders by Prof. Mike Gibney and healthy diets and sustainable consumption by Prof. Erik Millstone, which were played approximately 1 000, 650 and 500 times, respectively.

Summing up, the conference's outcomes may have potential impact on planning research programmes in the area of food and nutrition at the European, national, as well as at the individual university / research institute level, but also on planning strategic investments in food industry. But the most important impact the conference had on rising public interest in food and nutrition issues, especially in relation to genetically modified food and the effect of a diet on consumer health and well-being.

List of websites: http://foodconference2011.inhort.pl/

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