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Food Quality and Safety in Europe



The benefits to human health of eating a reasonable quantity of seafood regularly are well known and have led to an increase in fish farming to meet market demand. The EU wants to maintain the quality and safety of farmed and caught seafood, tailor products to give consumers what they want, and encourage them to eat a greater variety of fish. Consequently, it has set up SEAFOODplus, a large-scale integrated project to study the production, marketing and consumption of seafood, and its effects on health. Research institutes and organisations from all over Europe are working on the programme, which could last up to five years, and is initially being divided up into three 18-month reporting periods.


The programme is structured around the following six main themes:
1. SEAFOOD AND NUTRITION: Doctors recommend fish as part of a healthy diet because the polyunsaturated fatty acids it contains can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. The project will also investigate the possible role fish consumption could have in helping to prevent other chronic diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, irregular heartbeat, along with its role in younger people's health, and in combating obesity, post-natal depression and brittle bones.
2. CONSUMER HEALTH: Although many consumers already know that seafood is good for them, the amount they eat varies widely. The project will study attitudes and preferences in detail, and the results will be used to develop new seafood products which offer health benefits and are able to meet consumer expectations. This should encourage more people to eat more fish and improve their health.
3. SAFETY AND RISK/BENEFIT ANALYSIS: Shellfish can sometimes cause food poisoning or histamine reactions. SEAFOODplus will develop standard universal methods to detect certain viruses in susceptible shellfish, and develop early-warning systems for viral contamination. These risks will be balanced against health benefits and the results will be publicised.
4. NEW SEAFOOD CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Sources of wild fish are limited and some stocks are under threat, while fishing and fish farming produce by-products that are not being used to their full potential. The aim is to extract compounds beneficial to health from such sources and develop them into new functional food products. The approach taken will also enhance the consumer appeal of fish products while identifying new types of convenience and functional foods.
5. AQUACULTURE: Intensively reared fish can create problems of pollution and product quality. The public is concerned that farmed fish should be well treated and that wild species are not adversely affected. SEAFOODplus will study what goes into producing high-quality fish products, including genetics and what the fish are fed. It will establish a framework for farming European fish to a standard that is acceptable on quality, ethical, and environmental grounds.
6. TRACEABILITY: Consumers want reassurance about where their food comes from, that the environment has not been damaged in its production, and that it is safe to eat. Across all the research projects, a systematic approach will be developed to ensure that every fish on the European market can always be traced back to its source. A standard vocabulary of terms will be devised and integrated into a traceability system which will be tested on several seafood chains and validated for wider use.


The strategy of the SEAFOODplus programme is to promote the production of better, safer fish of all kinds, and to increase their consumption across Europe. In the long term, it is expected that through increased consumption and awareness a quantifiable improvement in human health can be recorded.

List of Partners

  • Danish Institute for Fisheries Research (Denmark)
  • Norwegian Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Norway)
  • Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (France)
  • Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research (The Netherlands)
  • Institute of Food Research (UK)
  • SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture (Norway)
  • AZTI Fundazioa (Spain)
  • Wageningen University (The Netherlands)
  • Icelandic Fisheries Laboratories (Iceland)
  • Aarhus School of Business (Denmark)
  • Universidad de Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
  • Matforsk-Norwegian Food Research Institute (Norway)
  • Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Científicas (Spain)
  • Ghent University (Belgium)
  • TNO Nutrition and Food Research (The Netherlands)
  • Friedrich-Schiler-University of Jena (Germany)
  • University College Cork (Ireland)
  • National Research Institute on Agriculture and Fisheries (Portugal)
  • Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden)
  • University of St. Andrews (UK)
  • Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture (UK)
  • Landspitali-University Hospital & University of Iceland (Iceland)
  • Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italy)
  • Federal Research Centre for Fisheries (Germany)
  • Göteborg University (Sweden)
  • University of Tromsø (Norway)
  • Universitat de Barcelona (Spain)
  • Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences (The Netherlands)
  • University of Coruna (Spain)
  • University of Glasgow (UK)
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway)
  • Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Denmark)
  • Plant Research International (The Netherlands)
  • University of Navarra (Spain)
  • University College Dublin (Ireland)
  • Ecole Nationale d'Ingénieurs des Techniques des Industries Agricole et Alimentaires (France)
  • University of Helsinki (Finland)
  • Institute for Animal Science and Health (The Netherlands)
  • Université de Bretagne Sud - GIS PROGEBIO (France)
  • Moere Research (Norway)
  • Academisch Ziekenhuis bij de Universiteit van Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
  • Maastricht University (The Netherlands)
  • University of West Brittany (France)
  • TEAGAS (Ireland)
  • Statens Serum Institut (Denmark)
  • AquaNet (UBC) (Canada)
  • Double Delta Kereskedelmi Termelo es Kutatasfejlestesi Beteti Tarsasag (Hungary)
  • Cannes Aquaculture E.A.R.L (France)
  • Coopérative de traitement des produits de la Pêche (France)
  • Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (France)
  • University of La Rochelle (France)
  • Unilever UK Central Resources (UK)
  • Salica Industria Alimentaria, (Spain)
  • Association Européenne des Producteurs de Mollusques (Belgium)
  • Primex ehf (Iceland)
  • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (France)
  • Marinova aps (Denmark)
  • National Institute of Public Health and The Environment (The Netherlands)
  • Johnson Seafarms (UK)
  • Fish Farm Yerseke (The Netherlands)
  • BioMar (Denmark)
  • Dønna Oppdrettsmiljø (Norway)
  • Royal Greenland Seafood (Denmark)
  • International organisation for the development of fisheries in Eastern and Central Europe - EUROFISH (Denmark)
  • Fjord Seafood ASA (Norway)
  • Trace Tracker Innovation (Norway)
  • Albacora (Spain)
  • GEASA, Gestión Empresarial Alavesa (Spain)
  • Institute of Ichthyobiology and Aquaculture of the Polish Academy of Science (Poland)
  • EWOS Innovation (UK)
  • Fish Farm Krol Jerzy (Poland)
Full title:
Health promoting, safe seafood of high quality in a consumer driven fork-to-farm concept
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Torger Borresen, Danish Institute for Fisheries Research,
EC Scientific Officer:
Ciaran Mangan,
EU contribution:
€ 14.4M
Integrated Project

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top