archive image

European Commission

Food Quality and Safety in Europe banner

Food Quality and Safety in Europe


BIODET image

Fresh fruit and vegetables are essential for a healthy diet, but they could also be potentially harmful due to pesticide residues, a frequent cause of several diseases. Consequently, European countries have defined the Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) permitted for a wide range of pesticide-product combinations. So far, agro-food SMEs have outsourced MRL controls, but this has proved to be a time- and money-consuming process. Biosensorbased systems represent an alternative to performing those quantitative measurements of pesticides using a fast, automatic and cost-effective method. The aim of the BioDet project is to stimulate the dissemination of research breakthroughs in this field to potential end-users, in order to reach the highest level of consumer health protection.


Despite the existence of very strict rules and regulations on food contamination in Europe, consumers are continuously ingesting small quantities of pesticides through their daily consumption of food and water. The production of high quality, safe food is not only an obvious prerequisite for a healthier society, but also an economic key factor for competitiveness in the global market. Although food quality and safety can be measured, pesticide assays are currently conducted at excessive costs for food producers. As a result, they use pesticide level controls defensively to prove that their products fall within the stipulated limits. One of the main challenges of BioDet is to convert this task into a competitive advantage.

While decentralising pesticide control into the hands of agro-food producers will motivate them to reduce pesticide use, this can only be achieved if the assays - besides working according to government regulations - are affordable, sensitive, and reliable. BioDet aims to accelerate this process by proposing future research projects, as well as collaboration and coordination between manufacturers, potential users (farmers), regulation authorities, product developers, and academia.


BioDet provides SMEs with available technology on MRL controls; supports policy development and harmonisation of existing national legislation; disseminates information on users' needs and policy requirements; and opens new research fields to fill technology gaps.

The project website, as a new analytical tool in the fruits and vegetables sector, will be the interface with the external community interested in biosensors. Leaflets and several members informative events will be organised to reach stakeholders from the industry, public authorities, academia, as well as consumers.

In order to improve health and quality of life, it is necessary to reduce and control the presence of pesticides in fruits and vegetables. This implies the availability of affordable, suitable technology and regulations that reinforce the use of new assays. In this regard, BioDet is an important step in the right direction.

List of Partners

  • Asociación de Investigación de la Industria Agroalimentaria, AINIA (Spain)
  • Immunotechnology Group, Centre for Research and Innovation on Bioengineering, Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain)
  • Department of Biochemistry, Masaryk University of Brno, MUB (Czech Republic)
  • LCC Engineering & Trading (Switzerland)
  • Compal - Companhia Produtora de Conservas Alimentares (Portugal)
Full title:
Networking in the application of biosensors to pesticide detection in fruits and vegetables
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Ricardo Diaz,
Asociación de Investigacion de la Industria Agroalimentaria, AINIA
EC Scientific Officer:
Alessio Vassarotti,
EU contribution:
€ 447,000
Specific Support Action

Back to list

Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top