Avian influenza in 2005 is a recent example of a highprofile health scare that caught the attention of consumers worldwide. A way to protect ourselves is to develop better safeguards for our food supply against current and future threats.
As a consequence of Europe's reliance on imported foods (almost 50% comes from abroad), merely taking action at home will not ensure that the health of European consumers is protected. Communication channels between authorities, the research community and industry must be opened on a global scale. This is why the success of the GO-GLOBAL project is crucial. Aiming to establish cooperation where none currently exists, it has an ambitious work plan.
GLOBAL ISSUE HAS GLOBAL DEMANDS
In recent years, food scares have occurred more frequently, partly due to ingredients originating from all corners of the globe. Local, national and regional authorities are struggling to keep up with the demands of monitoring the quality and safety of the high volume of foodstuffs and animal feed being imported into their geographical area of responsibility.
In an effort to address this situation, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was established in 2002. However, the group of eight core partners involved in GO-GLOBAL believe that efforts must be extended well beyond Europe's borders. The project is the result of the creation of a global platform to promote the timely dissemination of information about emerging safety food risks.
GO-GLOBAL also seeks to better connect the international research community. R&D results are shared through frequent publications, including a newsletter, at several international conferences and workshops organised by the consortium and via the website.
GO-GLOBAL intends to complement and enhance regional efforts or existing initiatives from the WHO, EFSA and other bodies. A final important component of the project is the formation of a global research agenda. Tried and tested methods are used, to identify both known as well as emerging food safety problems and gaps of knowledge, resulting in generation of outputs invaluable to research managers and interested stakeholders globally. This promotes wiser use of the limited research funding available.
AN INTERNATIONALLY INSPIRED MENU FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION
GO-GLOBAL has recruited an all-star international line-up. Of the 8 core partners, 3 are from the EU while the others hail from the far reaches of both the northern and southern hemispheres. The core partners also have a supporting cast of 14 platform members.
Each of the partners is well connected with the national and regional food safety programmes in their respective regions. The consortium as a whole is balanced both geographically and scientifically with experts in the natural, physical and social sciences.
GO-GLOBAL is looking to protect consumer interests, both within Europe and globally. The world economy stands to benefit as trust in food safety develops and the need for import bans on suspect food and feed products declines. Looking to the future, steps will be taken to secure funding to support the GO-GLOBAL platform, once the initial EU funding has been fully exploited.
List of Partners
- RIKILT - Institute of Food Safety (The Netherlands)
- Wageningen University (The Netherlands)
- Central Science Laboratory (UK)
- TUBITAK - Ankara Test and Analysis Laboratory (Turkey)
- Ministry of Education, Secretariat of Science, Technology and Product Innovation (Argentina)
- Laboratory Center for Food and Agricultural Products (Thailand)
- The A.N. Bakh Institute of Biochemistry (Russia)
- New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food Research (New Zealand)
- Full title:
- Global platform on emerging risk in the food and feed chain
- Contract n°:
- Project co-ordinator:
- Hans JP Marvin,
Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek
- EC Scientific Officer:
- Dirk Pottier,
- EU contribution:
- € 800,000
- Specific Support Action