Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

A guide towards safer food products

To ensure consumers confidence in the food production industry and guarantee their health, EU stakeholders formulated a guide for identifying and addressing various food chain vulnerabilities. This tool is expected to pinpoint parts of the system where potential contamination can take place and propose solutions, thereby minimising food spoilage.
A guide towards safer food products
Food chains refer to the collective links of production, processing and distribution of food. The increasing complexity of networks involved in food production necessitates the implementation of comprehensive food quality and safety assurance systems.

The EU-funded ECHAIN project aimed to develop a methodology to identify, assess and address vulnerabilities in the food chain. These included contamination by a dangerous substance, whether chemical, microbiological or physical, and loss of information regarding the journey of a product through the food chain.

For this purpose, a stakeholders' guide was developed that addressed these food chain vulnerabilities initially by identifying the food or feed chain and performing a systematic review of information with respect to possible contaminants, manufacturing practice and legislation. As a second step, the guide suggested the identification of vulnerable entry points of contamination in the chain. Finally, by developing a new risk ranking approach, the ECHAIN proposal aimed to assess and analyse the potential vulnerabilities in each chain.

Validation of this protocol was performed by the project partners in four major case studies for water, poultry, farmed salmon and milk powder. Immediate adoption of the proposed guidelines by practitioners of food safety would ensure the safety of food products and food chains.

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