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Food Quality and Safety in Europe



Biotechnology has a huge potential to improve the quality and safety of food. Crops could be designed to produce more nutritious food, with lower chemical and energy inputs. Microbe or plant cells can become 'factories' producing new bioactive chemicals. Genes could help trace the constituents of food to their origins. The knowledge is out there, but generating real technology which is accessible to farmers and/or consumers depends on companies being able to translate new research into marketable products. The crucial link between scientists and biotech companies is the focus of the BioProducts 4 Food project, a Specific Support Action currently being carried out by Rothamsted Research in the UK.


BioProducts 4 Food links biotech companies from Europe and the wider world with scientists carrying out research on plant and microbial biotechnology within the European Commission's Framework Programmes. It represents continued development of a project that has been running since 2000, funded initially by the Fifth Framework Programme and now being supported for a further three years under FP6. It holds an annual technology transfer meeting, known as the Rothamsted International BioMarket, and operates a networking website.

After four years, the BioMarket has become a wellestablished event in the biotech calendar. During the three-day meetings, EC-funded scientists are invited to present their research in a 'Discoveries Showcase', while companies and researchers can publicise themselves and their products on posters. Financiers and service providers to the biotech industry also attend. Delegates can arrange one-to-one meetings with potential partners, an approach which has been received enthusiastically in the past. BioProducts 4 Food hopes and plans for 350 individual partner meetings at each event. Now there are ambitious aims for widening international coverage - a target of 250 delegates from at least 20 countries (including 15 EU Member States) at the 2006 event. A panel of food industry representatives will be asked to advise on industry sectors that may have been overlooked in the network.


The BioProducts 4 Food website offers a year-round networking arena. It has a database of more than 350 organisations from 50 countries involved in translating biotechnology into real improvements in food production, with small and medium-sized European companies well represented. Organisers hope to raise this figure to over 1 000 in the next three years. Participants can search the database for organisations with similar expertise, and receive e-mail alerts about new organisations meeting their search criteria. The list of subjects is broad, ranging from biocontrol agents to biopolymers.

The website includes a database of new discoveries. Scientists will be able to enter their results in the database, having taken advice on how best to protect their findings. There should be 50 new discoveries on the website by the end of 2004, further promoting the BioProducts website as a live forum for the exchange of innovative ideas between scientists and businessmen. The BioProducts 4 Food project disseminates European food-related biotechnology research to companies in EU Member States, Accession States, Associated States and various other countries including China, Australia and South Africa. What better way to ensure that research investment is working for society?

List of Partners

  • Rothamsted Research (UK)
Full title:
Disseminating the results of EC funded research into food quality and safety to facilitate their transfer and exploitation into new products and processes to improve European health and well-being
Contract n:
Project co-ordinator:
Stephen James
Rothamsted Research,
EC Scientific Officer:
Alessio Vassarotti,
EU contribution:
€ 273,000
Specific Support Action

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top