What comes to mind when you think of bacteria? Most people think of mould and other nasty substances. Alternatively, one person's mould is another person's penicillin and as diseasefighting warrior. Businesses, realising the potential of bacteria, now provide functional foods containing bacteria that promote the wellbeing of individuals. Consumers can now buy, for example, products such as yogurts and smoothies containing bacteria that are good for them.
Reducing cholesterol levels and fighting heart disease have also been high on the agenda for science and businesses. Supermarkets now stock up on fats, oils and spreads that reduce cholesterol, and beverages like milk and orange juice are fortified with calcium or fibre to help consumers attain healthier lifestyles. Consumers may not be aware of what the foods they are buying contain, but they are nonetheless instrumental in advancing the functional food market.
Part of the EU Health Policy is to promote healthy eating habits for all EU citizens. It is also expanding on this by assisting other regions that need support. Its latest focus is Latin America. To support the functional foods sectors within the EU and Latin America, EULAFF plans to research, develop and create new products made up in the main from naturally occurring substances. This will support the establishment of an agri-food chain innovation system for the identification and development of novel functional foods. The strategic objective is to accelerate the process of commercialisation of innovative foodstuffs, ensuring the well-being of consumers and reducing the risk of disease.
IT'S ALL IN THE FOOD
A functional food can be defined as one containing potentially healthy products, including any modified foods or ingredients that may provide positive health benefits beyond the nutrients already present. While they are not in the general sense seen as a medicine, they do have the potential to reduce illnesses and disease, promote good health, and reduce healthcare costs. EULAFF has realised the potential of these products to support the quality of life and promote nutritional and environmental development for EU citizens and governments alike.
EULAFF will oversee the creation of a global collaboration platform, where scientists and functional food experts are able to network and transfer experience and knowledge. An environment conducive to innovative research collaboration will be offered. The project envisages a successful and sustainable use of biological diversity in Latin America by focusing on its agricultural crops. Moreover, crops that have a high nutritional value, but are underutilised, are seen as a major factor for achieving sustainability within rural Latin America.
FOOD FOR ALL
By addressing the needs of Specific Support Actions and by participating in the Food Quality and Safety programme, EULAFF works to increase competencies, strengthen education, promote innovation and increase the benefits of biotechnological research for society. Offering up these kinds of solutions to EU citizens as well as those from abroad, will assure success is on the menu.
List of Partners
- Federación Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Empresas de Biotecnología (Argentina)
- The Plant Biotechnology Institute for Developing Countries - University of Ghent (Belgium)
- Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Portugal)
- Sociedad Española de Biotecnología (Spain)
- Fundación Chile (Chile)
- Corporación Colombia Internacional (Colombia)
- Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Brazil)
- Fundación PROINPA (Bolivia)
- Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Peru)
- Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico)
- European Federation of Biotechnology (Spain)
- Full title:
- European Federation of Biotechnology Latin America action on functional foods
- Contract n°:
- Project co-ordinator:
- Alexandra Castells,
European Federation for Biotechnology
- EC Scientific Officer:
- Tomasz Calikowski,
- EU contribution:
- € 398,320
- Specific Support Action