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Food Quality and Safety in Europe



Pork accounts for about half of all the meat consumed in Europe. As such, it is vital that its quality is closely monitored and any potential disease problems are quickly discovered and controlled. This Specific Support Action ensures that measures established within an existing and linked EC-funded Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP), for detection and control of porcine circovirus disease (PCVD), an important emerging viral disease of pigs, will be widely disseminated and easily accessible for the benefit of all European citizens and consumers.

EU researchers working on projects funded under Frameworks 5 and 6, in collaboration with industry, have been at the forefront of studies on this disease of pigs, and have defined the disease and helped develop commercial diagnostics and vaccines.

Food quality and safety is of growing importance and interest, and Europe is leading the way with farming guidelines and programmes to recognise and respond to emerging disease outbreaks before they become pandemic. With the health and welfare of food animals being essential for public health and for the protection of consumers, these two linked EC-funded projects maintain the established global lead of EU researchers in identifying and dealing with a new pig disease that threatens pork quality and safety.


A new wasting disease of pigs, caused by a new virus, has recently emerged around the world with terrible consequences for Europe’s pork industry. The cost to producers in EU Member States is estimated to be more than €600 million in losses each year, which has led to some producers going out of business. The importance of gathering information on diagnosis and control that can be readily disseminated to, and shared with, pig producers in EU Member States is imperative in countering this devastating disease.

Virus infections of pigs cannot be treated by antibiotics, however on pig farms these viral infections will normally lead to additional secondary bacterial infections which are routinely dealt with by an increased use of antibiotics. The EU announced new programmes to counter such problems, and it is here that the project also has an important impact, by providing immediate information on diagnosis and control measures through its extensive network.

A wide information grid crossing the EU and its Neighbour States will provide concise and immediate information that helps diagnose and control problems, while at the same time promoting food quality and safety. Just as importantly, it attends to consumer concerns regarding animal welfare and assists producers by boosting their competitiveness in the global market.


The two projects have created a Europe-wide network of over 37 partners, including new and potential EU Member States. Such multidisciplined EU-led teams will be better able to deal with immediate concerns, and will also form the basis for future responses to potential varied animal health and welfare, and food safety problems.

With dissemination of the increased available knowledge, the improved techniques that will be available and the training opportunities for young scientists, the eventual eradication of a serious disease in pigs is possible. The reduction of disease, and therefore the improved health and welfare of pigs, will result in improved quality of pork products, thereby securing sustainable and viable farms throughout the EU and its neighbours. Farms as viable businesses will help to counter unemployment, and smallto- medium sized family farms within a rural environment can be preserved.

List of Partners

  • The Queens University of Belfast (UK)
  • Merial SAS (France)
  • Meat and Livestock Commission (UK)
  • Veterinary Research Institute (Czech Republic)
  • National Veterinary Research Institute (Poland)
  • Kosice University of Veterinary Medicine (Slovak Republic)
  • Szent Istvan Faculty of Veterinary Sciences (Hungary)
  • Croatian Veterinary Institute (Croatia)

List of Affiliated Institutes

  • Ministry of Agriculture (Cyprus)
  • State Veterinary Institute (Czech Republic)
  • Veterinary Research Institute (Czech Republic)
  • Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences (Estonia) Estonian Veterinary and Food Laboratory (Estonia)
  • Central Veterinary Institute (Hungary)
  • State Veterinary Medicine Diagnostic Centre (Latvia)
  • National Diagnostic Centre of FVS (Latvia)
  • Veterinary Institute, Lithuanian Veterinary Academy (Lithuania)
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Skopje (FYROM)
  • University of Ljubljana, Veterinary Faculty (Slovenia)
  • National Diagnostic and Research Veterinary Medical Institute (Bulgaria)
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb (Croatia)
  • University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca (Romania)
  • National Scientific Center (Ukraine
  • )
Full title:
Towards improved food quality and safety within EU new Member States and associated candidate countries
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Gordon Allan,
Queen’s University Belfast
EC Scientific Officer:
Isabel Minguez Tudela,
EU contribution:
€ 497,340
Specific Support Action

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top