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Food quality and safety
Page last update: 21/10/04

A fork in the road for food research

Despite increasingly rigorous high-tech quality control standards, the past decade has seen an alarming rise in food alerts. The European Commission has committed itself to redoubling research efforts under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) to ensure a high level of food safety and quality to protect the health of citizens.

‘Mad Cow’ disease (BSE), dioxin and salmonella are among the scares that have shaken consumer confidence across the EU in the food they buy and consume and present modern society with a paradox.
Progress in science and technology has meant that the food we consume is put under unprecedented scrutiny to ensure that it is healthy and safe. Yet all this advancement could not prevent these contaminations from getting into our food.
The problem stems from the growing consolidation of the production and distribution chain, which means that if a contaminant creeps into one part of the chain it can potentially spread at an alarming rate before it is arrested.

From fork to farm
The EU hopes to protect public well-being and restore trust in the food industry by promoting research in this important field. The Commission intends to promote and back research efforts that focus on the interests of citizens and consumers along the entire food production and distribution chain.
Another important string in the Commission’s bow is to encourage informed public debate of the issues surrounding this important field by stimulating better communication between the scientific community and society at large.

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