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Food Quality and Safety in Europe



Beef production within the EU region is an activity of major economic importance, valued at €75 billion. However, reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy, increased globalisation, reduced commodity prices and an increasingly sophisticated, health-conscious consumer are requiring the industry to produce beef and beef products that are convenient, traceable, nutritious and of consistent quality. Alongside these considerations, today’s consumer demands assurances regarding food safety, which is of paramount importance given the serious impact of the beef related health scares during the 1990s. In order to boost consumer trust and invigorate the industry, the ProSafeBeef project is examining new ways of reducing contaminants in the beef chain from ‘farm-to-fork’ as well as enhancing quality, choice and diversity.


The European beef sector, with more than 8 million tonnes produced annually, is particularly important for the positioning of the EU in the global meat market. In this context, the industry is subjected to very high consumer demands regarding beef safety and quality. Furthermore, European consumers have additional requirements; not only does beef have to be free of contaminants (chemical and microbial), but it also has to be nutritionally rich, tasty and available in different product lines. Failure to fulfil the consumers’ wishes would have significant financial consequences for producers and meat distributors. There would also be a serious impact on rural communities, which often rely for the main part on beef production for their livelihoods and incomes.


The ProSafeBeef project brings together experts and small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from Europe, North America, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and analyses the various stages of beef production in order to optimise the process as a whole, and to make meat products safer and healthier for consumers. One example is the way in which it will take a riskassessment based approach to the development and introduction of new approaches to controlling microbial contaminants by studying their prevalence, persistence and virulence in beef produced within or imported into the EU. The role of chemical contaminants is also studied. ProSafeBeef also focuses on the development of new practices and strategies with regard to animal feeding strategies, meat processing and packaging technologies, to yield diversification in meat products.

The project’s results will be disseminated among participants to encourage further cooperation between SMEs, which play a crucial role in this sector of the industry. This will allow enterprises to work in closer cooperation in order to reinforce their position in the market and comply more effectively with consumer expectations. In the longer term, ProSafeBeef will help the industry meet the requirements of EU regulations on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs and hygiene. The achievement of the project’s aims will result in a better quality product with a reduced risk of illness from meat consumption, improved consumer trust and a thriving beef industry.

List of Partners

  • Teagasc - The Agriculture and Food Authority (Ireland)
  • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (France)
  • Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (UK)
  • Matforsk, The Norwegian Food Research Institute (Norway)
  • Agricultural University of Athens (Greece)
  • Association pour le Développement de l’Institut de la Viande (France)
  • Ghent University (Belgium)
  • University College Dublin (Ireland)
  • University of Bristol (UK)
  • Institute of Farm Animal Biology (Germany)
  • Agricultural University of Poznan, Institute of Meat Technology (Poland)
  • Aarhus School of Business (Denmark)
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece)
  • University of Veterinary Medicine (Austria)
  • National Veterinary Research Institute (Poland)
  • Danish Meat Research Institute (Denmark)
  • University of Novi Sad (Serbia & Montenegro)
  • Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (Spain)
  • RIKILT, Institute of Food Safety (The Netherlands)
  • University College Cork (Ireland)
  • Queen’s University Belfast (UK)
  • International Atomic Energy Agency (Austria)
  • British Nutrition Foundation (UK)
  • Institute of Agro-Food Research and Technology (Spain)
  • Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Brazil)
  • Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil)
  • Macrobióticos (Brazil)
  • Greifenfleisch (Germany)
  • Ensors Abattoir Limited (UK)
  • Celtic Pride Limited (UK)
  • Union Nationale des Coopératives d’Elevage et d’Insémination Animale (France)
  • Josef Strobel und Sohne (Austria)
  • Apostolos Papadopoulos (Greece)
  • Ecofarm Peloponessos (Greece)
  • Furuseth Slakteri (Norway)
  • Prima Jære (Norway)
  • Institute of Environmental Science and Research (New Zealand)
  • Co-operative Research Centre, Cattle and Beef Quality (Australia)
  • University of Florida, Dept of Animal Science (USA)
  • Prof. John Sofos (USA)
  • USDA, Western Regional Research Centre (USA)
  • Canadian Research Institute, University of Guelph (Canada)
Full title:
Improving the quality and safety of beef and beef products for the consumer in production and processing
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Declan Troy, Teagasc – The Agriculture and Food Authority,
EC Scientific Officer:
Laurence Moreau,
EU contribution:
€ 10.9M
Integrated Project

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top