Knowledge Based Bio-Economy


Contaminants in food and feed: inexpensive detection for control of exposure (FOOD QUALITY AND SAFETY)

Project acronym: CONffiDENCE

Title of project: Contaminants in food and feed: inexpensive detection for control of exposure

Research area: Consumers

Contract No: 211326

EU contribution: €5 800 100

Start date: May 2010

Duration: 56 months

Status: on-going

The presence of potentially hazardous chemicals in food remains a major concern among European consumers. Recent food contamination incidents, e.g. fraudulent addition of toxic chemicals to infant milk powders in China, certainly contribute to fears about the safety of food. Currently, a variety of analytical test methods are used to help ensure the safety of food and feed in Europe both for goods produced in the EU and imported from third countries. Many of these methods are tedious, time consuming, and require sophisticated and expensive instrumentation.

The main objectives of the CONffIDENCE project are:

  • the development of new simplified inexpensive detection methods for chemical contaminants from farm to fork in order to assure chemical safety and quality in the European food supply;
  • the development of new detection tools for EFSA recognised key and emerging risks;
  • an improved exposure assessment based on a better idea about average contaminant levels thanks to increased monitoring data by simplified and cheaper detection tools;
  • the contribution to the validation of risk-benefit and predictive hazard behaviour models in accordance with the strategic agenda of the European Technology Platform (ETP) Food for Life;
  • the extensive dissemination and training of new detection methods to all relevant stakeholders, including industrial and governmental end-users and students, to advance technology exploitation.

The CONffIDENCE project aims to further improve food safety in Europe through the development of faster and more cost-efficient methods for the detection of a wide range of chemical contaminants in different food and feed commodities. These methods will not only save precious time in ever faster production cycles, but will also permit more food/ feed samples to be monitored due to the lower cost per test. In combination with the broadened spectrum of detectable residues and contaminants, the CONffIDENCE project will significantly increase food safety in Europe.

Following the scientific and technological development phase, the new techniques will be widely disseminated in the following forms:

  • training workshops will be held for governmental and industrial end-users, e.g. National Reference Laboratories of the EU member states and trade associations that represent the food and feed sectors;
  • results from the project will be presented to the scientific community through publications in the scientific press and presentations at relevant international conferences;
  • consumers will also be kept fully informed via a series of Open Days and workshops for consumer organisations;
  • education modules and training courses for under- and postgraduate students will be designed and established in order to assure a sustainable integration of the new techniques into a standard portfolio of analytical methods.

Altogether, these measures will guarantee that the developed methods find their utmost application in real practice and thus efficiently contribute to food safety in Europe.

Website of project:

Coordinator: Jacob de Jong,;