Regular scares about food safety, from BSE to salmonella, indicate that the link between food and consumer health is still a major concern across the European Union. The delivery of safe food from the producer to the consumer requires meticulous monitoring at every stage in the supply chain, a concept now called 'farm to fork'. The Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) included many research projects designed to ensure the safety of food produced and eaten in the EU. Its results are now providing the main source of information for those who draw up Europe's food policy and the legislation that enacts it, and this approach will continue and be reinforced in FP6.
In this context, a Specific Support Action, Integration of European Food Safety Research from Producers to Consumers (IRFOS), has been launched to analyse the results of completed and ongoing projects, and to direct future research into the most relevant areas. IRFOS has set up a steering group of top European and international experts to promote networking at the highest level on the crucial topic of food safety and to oversee two conferences that will provide the material for its recommendations.
PREPARING THE GROUND
A preparatory IRFOS conference, called 'Food: new challenges after a century of progress', will be held in Paris in June 2004. It will aim at providing key material for a subsequent work conference. Eminent scientists will give presentations describing the achievements of a century of work on food safety, then parallel workshops will review current research.
Workshop subjects are:
- The food chain: risks and threats for consumers;
- Food science: trust and mistrust of consumers;
- Dissemination of food knowledge;
- Who influences food choices?
This conference is being supported by both the EU and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), and is organised by the SSHA (Société Scientifique d'Hygiène Alimentaire), a project partner currently celebrating its centenary. It will target consumers and people who work directly with nutrition, such as food manufacturers and dieticians.
The work conference will be held in Lille (France) in October 2004. It will review the earlier event and look in detail at Europe's food safety research. It will focus in particular on the risks of infectious and toxic agents throughout the food chain, and on tests to detect them and ways to exclude them. Completed work in FP5 and early results from FP6 will both be included, clustered into five topics: microbiological risks; chemical and toxicological risks; detection techniques and traceability in the food chain; tampering and bioterrorism; and communicating risks to the consumer.
A series of parallel workshops will also use the projects in FP5 and FP6 as a basis for their discussions. They will cover: SMEs and how they can be involved; dissemination and evaluation of results; the Framework Programme tools (Networks of Excellence, Integrated Projects, STREP, CA, SSA); integrating new Member States and accession states; international opportunities; and coordination of national policies in the European Research Area. This conference will be aimed at scientists, policymakers and those who control the safety of Europe's food.
The messages delivered there will be gathered into a summary report, recommendations from which will influence research plans for the second half of FP6. IRFOS news will appear on both partners' websites. IRFOS will help the European Food Safety Authority to formulate and implement an efficient food safety policy to the benefit of the general health of EU citizens.
List of Partners
- Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (France)
- Société Scientifique d'Hygiène Alimentaire (France)
- Full title:
- Integration of European food safety research from producers to consumers
- Contract n°:
- Project co-ordinator:
- Gérard Pascal,
- EC Scientific Officer:
- François Constantin Severini,
- EU contribution:
- € 209,000
- Specific Support Action