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INFORMATION FLOW ON FOOD TECHNOLOGY, FOOD SAFETY AND HEALTHY EATING TO SMEs AND CONSUMERS 'FLAIR FLOW'

Objective

FLAIR-FLOW EUROPE is a specialised dissemination project with the aim of helping to convey results from the other 32 international projects in the FLAIR programme, and also selected food related items from other EC programmes, to end users.
FLAIR-FLOW EUROPE is a specialized dissemination project with the aim of helping to convey results from the other 32 international projects in the FLAIR programme, and also selected food related items from other European Community (EC) programmmes, to end users. The targeted end users are small to medium sized food enterprises (SMEs), health professionals, and consumer groups in the 12 EC states and in Austria, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

National networks in 16 countries are the kernel of the FLAIR-FLOW project; there are also 3 transnational networks.
The distribution of user friendly 1-page documents on FLAIR results and related areas continues to be the main dissemination route of FLAIR-FLOW with 38 issued in 1992. The response of food SMEs to the 1-page documents has been excellent.
FLAIR FLOW also operates by initiating workshops, or inclusion workshops, on FLAIR topics and virtually all national network leaders, and also the project leader, have given lectures or posters on FLAIR and on FLAIR-FLOW at conferences, food fairs and trade shows.

The overall conclusions from this research are that:
feedback from SMEs and other end users about FLAIR-FLOW has been very positive and a large number of food SMEs and other end users have been reached to date;
reaching the end users with research and development results from FLAIR is only the first step (aiding end users to implement the results is the second step and represents a major challenge);
setting up SME focus groups or clusters should aid the uptake of results from FLAIR;
publication of FLAIR results in trade and other journals (based on 1-page documents), and the holding of workshops on FLAIR results, are seen as the most fruitful dissemination routes to date to food SMEs and other end users;
FLAIR-FLOW is both a dissemination and a research project (the research relates to studying the effectiveness of an international network system as a dissemination tool);
the bringing on stream of an integrat ed networks dissemination system is a top priority;
FLAIR-FLOW is fulfilling a major role in bridging the gap between EC food research and development programmes and the end users (ie food SMEs, health professionals and consumers).
The targeted end users are small to medium sized food enterprises (SMEs), health professionals, and consumer groups in the 12 EC states and in Austria, Finland, Norway and Sweden. FLAIR-FLOW is a cooperative project of the EC FLAIR and VALUE programmes.

1. Reaching the end users:

The degree of difficulty in reaching end users with R and D results in user friendly form must never be underestimated. However, reaching the end user is only one part of the equation; the other part is the ability of food SMEs to understand and implement the results. This problem has been clearly recognised by FLAIR-FLOW personnel and potential remedial measures include setting up food SME focus groups or clusters and linking food SMEs to the newly established Information Relay Centres of the EC.

2. FLAIR-FLOW national networks:

National networks in 16 countries are the kernel of the FLAIR-FLOW project; there are also three transnational networks as mentioned above. There are about 280 active network members on the 16 networks. Network members from food inspectorates/control are more active than expected (based on the whole international sample of network members) followed by those from consumer organisations, journals, and the media. Conversely, network members whose affiliations are academia or industry associations are less active (relatively speaking), and in the case of the former very much less active, than expected. Personnel in the food control/inspectorate area include environmental health officers, and various inspectors including veterinarians.

Coordinator

TEAGASC
Address
Dunsinea, Castleknock
Dublin 15
Ireland