Knowledge Based Bio-Economy

BASELINE

Selection and improving of fit-for-purpose sampling procedures for specific foods and risks (FOOD QUALITY AND SAFETY)

Project acronym: BASELINE

Title of project: Selection and improving of fit-for-purpose sampling procedures for specific foods and risks

Research area: Consumers

Contract No: 222738

EU contribution: €5 154 885

Start date: August 2009

Duration: 52 months

Status: on-going

Food Safety Objectives (FSOs) and Performance Objectives (POs) are new criteria in food safety based on risk assessment and used to verify a maximum frequency or concentration of microbiological hazards in foods. To be effective such criteria have to be verified using fit-for-purpose sampling schemes.

The BASELINE project is currently assessing relevance and possible values of POs and FSOs for a selection of food/risk combinations and is improving sampling schemes currently available for food authorities and food producers to verify the achievement of suggested POs and FSOs. The new or adapted sampling schemes include traditional and innovative analytical methods are structured to be cost-effective. The team is also developing predictive mathematical models for biological risks and investigating and modeling sources and pathways of chemical contaminants to improve sampling schemes.

The overall objective of the BASELINE project is to provide harmonized and validated sampling strategies, structured as required by International standards (ex. ISO), to support the European policies in food safety and to be suitable for food producers, in order to collect comparable data to improve quantitative risk analysis of selected biological and chemical agents. This objective is addressed through the achievements of the following tasks:

  1. reviewing sampling schemes for specific biological and chemical risks currently available for food authorities and food producers at European level;
  2. assessing relevance and suitable limit values of POs and FSOs for selected biological and chemical risks;
  3. evaluating the need for new or adapted methods for sampling and testing the identified risk factors to produce data for risk assessment;
  4. developing predictive mathematical models for biological risks and investigating and modelling sources and pathways of chemical contaminants to improve sampling schemes;
  5. harmonizing and validating the sampling schemes developed in the project and alternative detection methods;
  6. disseminating the scientific knowledge deriving from the project to stakeholders.

New food safety criteria for the most significant food matrixes will impact the health of European consumers. Indeed, regulatory authorities will check compliance with microbiological limits and reject (or take other appropriate action) non-compliant food lots. Furthermore, food business operators will verify the effectiveness of HACCP plans and good practices corresponding to guidelines and specifications.

The large-scale application of sampling schemes developed during BASELINE will increase the probability of detecting chemical and biological risks in foods before their distribution to consumers, decreasing the negative economic impact on both food producers and general society of food recalls and food-borne diseases, respectively.

BASELINE innovations will lead to state-of-the-art sampling schemes, detection and analytical methods and modelling; knowledge of risk factors in individual countries and models for early warning of specified risk factors. These will be built on knowledge of the relationship between a food risk factor and indicator agents, as well as between food risk factors and traceable external parameters.

The validated and harmonised sampling techniques will be suitable for application along the food chain, for supporting and advancing food safety risk assessment and enhancing fraud detection. The project will also lead to new knowledge on cost-effective sampling schemes for improving food safety and, as a consequence, consumer confidence.

Website of project: www.baselineeurope.eu/

Coordinator: Gerardo Manfreda, gerardo.manfreda@unibo.it

Organisation: Alma Mater Studiorum-Universita di Bologna,www.unibo.it/Portale/default.htm

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