Our focus in recent times has been to turn scientific excellence within the food sector into economic impact and deliver results through innovation, in collaboration with the public and private research community and governments.
This is done by investing in high-potential European Union (EU) research and innovation projects as part of our science strategy, focusing on the priority areas we have identified; Next Generation Diagnostics, Food Integrity and Sustainable Agri-food Systems. This has enabled us to advance current knowledge and build momentum to focus on product innovation and improved services.
Listed below are projects that have either been supported by the European Commission through the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) or has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme or through Innovate UK. Fera Science Limited either coordinates or is a partner in the project consortium.
Comprising of 60 participants from 18 European countries and one from China, FoodIntegrity's key focus is be to consolidate, harmonise and mobilise the European capability on food authentication to ensure consumer confidence and protect European added value. The 5 year (2014-2018) €12M project will reduce the current barriers to data sharing and utilisation that is crucial to combating food fraud by supplying methods and tools that will address both enforcement and industry needs. The project will not only seek to enhance early warning capabilities, but working with industry, will develop methods, systems and processes that will assure the quality, authenticity and safety of the food chain.
It is acknowledged that historically anti-food fraud capability within Europe has not been consolidated and lacks the coordination and support structures available to those working in food safety. Authent-Net comprises a core group of 19 participants from 10 MS, 1 NGO (non-government organisation) and the US, who are either national research funding bodies; experts in food authenticity, and/or experts in transnational funding mechanisms.
The profile of food fraud has never been higher than at the present time in Europe. With diminishing government budgets, there is a clear need for better cohesion and cooperation between funding bodies in Member States in order to work more strategically together and reduce duplication. Authent-Net is a 2-year H2020 Concerted Action that aims to fulfil that need. From its start in April 2016, Authent-Net has been engaging with and “recruiting” funding bodies across Europe. Stock taking of research and surveillance activities, the funding landscape, mechanisms and priorities across 13 Member States has taken place. This information is currently being uploaded into a dynamic and sustainable European information platform, named the Food Authenticity Research Network Hub (FARNHub). This web-based portal, which will soon be accessible to all, provides users with a single interface related to most aspects of food authenticity, including papers and documents (scientific or other), ongoing projects, online databases, an overview of funding bodies with contact points, news stories, analytical methods and regulations.
Read More: AUTHENT-NET H2020 Project
Europe is currently the largest producer of olive oil, accounting for more than 70% of the world’s production. Non-EU countries are now starting to expand their domestic production, thereby increasing the competitiveness of the global olive oil market. This increased competitiveness,combined with expanding markets and a lack of efficient and harmonised analytical methods for detecting olive oil fraud, has led to significant weaknesses that can be exploited by counterfeiters. OLEUM is a 4-year H2020 project coordinated by Prof. Tullia Gallina Toschi of the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences of the University of Bologna, Italy. Twenty partners,covering fifteen countries, bring together competences from food analysis, food legislation, industrial equipment engineering, bioinformatics, communication and knowledge exchange. The overall objective of OLEUM is to better guarantee olive oil quality and authenticity by empowering detection and fostering prevention of olive oil fraud. Improvements in the quality, safety and authenticity of olive oils will boost consumer confidence and ultimately enhance the competitiveness of the EU olive oil market.
Designing the OLEUM Network - one of the strategic objectives of OLEUM is to develop and support a worldwide community of proficient analytical laboratories involved in the analysis of olive oil, therefore establishing a wide OLEUM Network. Please contact us at OLEUM@fera.co.uk, if you are interested in joining.
Read the latest in developments when it comes to authenticity of olive oil that Fera has been involved in:Read more: EU H2020 OLEUM Project Update
EU-China-Safe will mobilise resources in Europe and China to develop a cohesive partnership that will deliver a shared vision for food safety and authenticity and work towards “mutual recognition”. Comprising 16 participants from the EU and 17 from China, EU-China-Safe contains key research organisations, Government and industry needed to develop and jointly implement major advances in improving food safety and combating food fraud in the two trading blocks. EU-China-Safe will build the core components needed for a joint EU-China food safety control system comprising: control management, food legislation, food inspection, food control laboratories, and food safety and quality information, education and communication. The project will develop an EU-China Joint Laboratory Network that will achieve and demonstrate equivalency of results, and will develop a state of the art virtual laboratory, with interchangeable staff from two continents, that will be used as a “showcase” to communicate and demonstrate best practice. Innovative traceability tools will strengthen the most vulnerable supply chains. New or improved detection capabilities for chemical/microbiological hazards and food fraud will be implemented in a harmonised way across the EU-China network.
Fera are leading work package 5 (WP5) entitled 'Confidence building and trade facilitation'. This work will integrate natural and social sciences by examining laboratory response, consumer confidence, mitigation of divergent food safety standards through common risk analysis considerations and analysis of economic costs of food incidents. Twinning will take place between corresponding Reference laboratories between EU and China to facilitate knowledge transfer (two ways) of existing best practice. A virtual laboratory (RL2020) will be established to showcase new best practice, ensure harmonisation of laboratory procedures and to build confidence and mutual recognition of results. There will be a strong focus on exchanging best practices between the EU and China and will ensure that there is a full understanding of food safety and authenticity requirements to support compliance of exporting companies with both the EU and Chinese requirements, in support of enhancing bilateral trade of food/agri-food commodities. Emphasis will be placed on reaching consistent laboratory testing regimes as well as food safety standards underpinned by robust risk assessment, with the aim of bolstering consumer confidence in both jurisdictions.
This project will develop a system for rapid detection of hazardous bacteria in foodstuffs. The system is highly innovative, and will be easy to use by food handlers, and farm workers, without needing to send samples to third parties for analysis. This system will help to improve food safety and reduce infections in humans, which will increase consumer confidence in the UK food supply. This work is funded by Innovate UK.
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