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Food Quality and Safety in Europe



Ask Europeans about what types of food they like to eat and images of Italian pizza, Greek cheese pies, Swedish meatballs, German Weisswurst and French Niçoise salad come to mind. Both researchers and industry recognise that nearly two thirds of the meals consumed in Europe are made from traditional food products (TFPs). They are also aware, however, that the existing percentage (16%) of ‘traditionally evolved’ products, which are traditional products that are developing as far as packaging, services, quality and safety standards are concerned, is increasing. Furthermore, they are conscious of what European consumers think and expect of the foods they eat.

However, documentation regarding consumers’ experiences of TFPs and their feelings towards innovations in food production is to all intents and purposes missing. The EU is now intent on shedding more light on consumers’ opinions and perceptions about TFPs and their innovation. The Traditional United Europe Food (TRUEFOOD) project, therefore, seeks to understand consumers’ expectations, evaluate and develop new technologies and involve SMEs in the technology transfer of innovations.


Food industries from 20 EU Member States have jumped on the bandwagon to promote research for improved traditional food. With an overall budget of €20.08 million, of which €15.5 million is financed by the EU, the project targets traditional foods that are set for change, in terms of quality and safety standards, nutritional properties, packaging and services. These changes are being implemented in order to meet the growing needs and demands of consumers.

While the industry faces consumer demands, it also faces the threat of cheaper mass-produced competitive products and importation of food from abroad. For this reason, TRUEFOOD aims to support European SMEs by providing them with the means to improve the quality, nutritional value and safety of the foods they produce. It may prove challenging for SMEs, since they must contend with large-scale production and processing methods, while they themselves may lack the facilities or capital to set up microbiological or toxicological safety assurance systems. As a result, the needs and investment capacities of SMEs will be matched with made-to-measure or one-off technological solutions.


Running over a four-year period, TRUEFOOD is promoted by the SPES GEIE consortium, consisting of 11 major European food and drink federations that represent 35 000 SMEs. The project’s strategic goal is to strengthen the industry’s competitiveness and consumer confidence, regardless of the fact that it posts €810 billion in turnover each year. Researchers and industries are heeding the growing demands of consumers.

Concerns have surfaced, however, that the new demands have a detrimental effect upon traditional food products. Operators active in the production and distribution of traditional food products must meet the existing EU food safety policies and regulations, and satisfy the changing demands and expectations of consumers. Ultimately, developing innovation to build up the safety and quality of TFPs will come to fruition if researchers and industries work towards better methods for integrating up-to-the-minute technology with the traditional production process. TRUEFOOD is addressing the need to bring together nationally supported research and an integrated European research programme that encourages a stronger and more modern market for evolving traditional foods.

List of Partners

  • Spread European Safety GEIE (Italy)
  • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (France)
  • Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie, l’Energia e l’Ambiente (Italy)
  • Matforsk (Norway)
  • Agricultural University of Athens (Greece)
  • Gent University (Belgium)
  • Association des Centres Techniques Alimentaires (France)
  • Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la Nutrizione (Italy)
  • Instituto de Recerca y Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (Spain)
  • University of Warsaw (Poland)
  • Dairy Research Institute of Ioannina (Greece)
  • Technical University München (Germany)
  • University of Prague (Czech Rep)
  • University of Perugia (Italy)
  • Escola Superior de Biotecnologia (Portugal)
  • Progetto Europa Regions (Italy)
  • Karadeniz Technical University (Turkey)
  • Campden & Chorleywood Food Industry Development Institute (Hungary/UK)
  • Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (Slovenia)
  • Technical Educational Institute of Ionian Islands (Greece)
  • Fachhochschule Weihenstephan (Germany)
  • University of Milan (Italy)
  • ETAT (Greece)
  • Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italy)
  • University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)
  • Confédération des Industries Agro Alimentaires de l’UE (Belgium)
  • Centre National Interprofessionnel de l’Economie Laitière (France)
  • Agriconsulting (Italy)
  • Genus (UK)
  • Adour Bio Conseil (France)
Full title:
Traditional united Europe food
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Maria Cristina Di Domizio, SPES GEIE,
EC Scientific Officer:
Dirk Pottier,
EU contribution:
€ 15.5M
Integrated project

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top