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European Flag    Europa The European Commission Research Fifth Framework Programme
Improving the Quality of Life

Food, nutrition and health

The EU is the world's leading producer of food and drink. In recent years, food quality and safety have become increasingly important issues.

The EU's food and drink sector is worth 650 billion and employs no less than 3 million people. While the industry is world class, recent food scares have put it under increasing pressure from consumers to guarantee food safety and quality at all stages of the food production process.
Despite this, the ratio of research expenditure to production remains low in comparison with other sectors. This key action therefore aims to strengthen research in the agriculture, fisheries and food industries to ensure that Europe maintains its strong position into the 21st century. Studying how foods can affect health in the long term is also an important goal. There is substantial evidence that a balanced diet can contribute to the prevention of many chronic diseases, but we need to investigate which foods offer the greatest protection. Functional foods - foods designed to confer definite and specific health benefits - are already in the early stages of development and will continue to be a major focus for research.

Food production and supply
  • ensuring better food quality for the consumer
  • developing safer and more flexible food production processes and technologies

raw materials for food production; production and processing systems; by-products and wastes from fisheries and agro-industry; new food sources; packaging systems; quality monitoring; traceability

Food contamination
  • detecting and eliminating infectious and toxic agents throughout the food chain
  • establishing the hazards and origins of food contaminants
  • producing food more safely

rapid detection tests for pathogens; xenobiotics and hormones; assessing microbial, chemical and allergenic risks

Diet and health
  • promoting and sustaining health through balanced diet
  • reducing diet-related risk factors which contribute to chronic disease
  • developing new approaches for improved nutrition

physiological functions; nutritional needs; diet and chronic disease; consumer protection; food-processing and labelling

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