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Food Quality and Safety in Europe



“Good food,” the expression goes, “takes time.” Good food research, takes networks of excellence. The bottom line is that European and global consumer demand for improved food quality and safety is strong and keeps growing. Support must come from key food players, and in particular, from industries, SMEs and research institutions active in corresponding fields of analytical methods for research. However, problems arise when these groups fail to pool their resources. The result is the fragmentation in food quality and safety research. A case of too few cooks spoiling the broth.

With a keen eye on the problem, the EU has established a network of excellence project called MONIQA. It promotes the harmonisation of analytical methods for monitoring food quality and safety in the food supply chain. MONIQA integrates leading groups by forging a strong tie-up, which sets up mechanisms for coordinating and combining research activities, infrastructure and personnel. Two separate groups benefit from MONIQA: consumers secure higher quality and safer foods, and the industry and SMEs profit from harmonised detection methods and technologies.


The network has a global feel. Members, totalling 33, hail from all corners of the globe. The membership breakdown shows the involvement of research institutions, industry partners, NGOs and doctoral students, among others. Integrating European and global food quality and safety research is achieved by establishing a virtual laboratory for joint research, training, dissemination and mobility programmes. The European and foreign partners in MONIQA are working together to detect and quantify biological and chemical contaminants.

That is not all, however. An international platform for food quality and safety researchers further promotes knowledge and data exchanges between members and gives them access to materials, equipment and personnel. Ultimately, these integrated activities give key players and interested parties shared access to leading research facilities, databases and technological platforms the world over. Consumers are finally gaining the support they need to meet their food demands.

Today, the European food and drink industry holds the biggest piece of the production pie, providing jobs to more than 4 million people in approximately 280 000 companies and covering a market of 450 million EU consumers. The industry posted €810 billion in turnover in 2004 and its export potential stood at €50 billion. These figures only prove the influence Europe has on the world market.

List of Partners

  • ICC - International Association for Cereal Science and Technology (Austria)
  • BOKU - Universität für Bodenkultur Wien (Austria)
  • Ain Shams University (Egypt)
  • Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association (UK)
  • CER - Centre d´Economie Rurale (Belgium)
  • Eurofins Analytik GmbH (Germany)
  • Centro Tecnologico Gaiker (Spain)
  • CSL - Central Science Laboratory (UK)
  • Q-Plan - International Quality and Environment Services (Greece)
  • Tübitak Marmara Research Center (Turkey)
  • University of Food Technologies (Bulgaria)
  • VocalTag (Israel)
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (Finland)
  • University of Napoli, Federico II (Italy)
  • Matforsk - Norwegian Food Research Institute (Norway)
  • National Technical University of Athens (Greece)
  • National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (The Netherlands)
  • Sichuan University (China)
  • Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la Nutrizione (Italy)
  • Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Hungary)
  • Institute of Environmental Science and Research (New Zealand)
  • National Food and Nutrition Institute (Poland)
  • Hacettepe University (Turkey)
  • CCOA - Chinese Cereals and Oils Association (China)
  • Institut Pertanian Bogor (India)
  • Hanoi University of Technology (Vietnam)
  • IFR - Institute of Food Research (UK)
  • National Research Council (Italy)
  • RTD Services (Austria)
  • JRC - Joint Research Centre (Belgium)
  • Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn (Germany)
  • Interdisciplinary Centre for Comparative Research in the Social Sciences (Austria)
  • University of Bologna (Italy)
Full title:
Towards the harmonisation of analytical methods for monitoring quality and safety in the food chain
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Roland Ernest Poms, International Association for Cereal Science and Technology,
EC Scientific Officer:
Maria Spulber,
EU contribution:
€ 12.3M
Network of Excellence

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top