The EU has launched a €12m project to develop standards for analysing food safety and quality.
With the rise of globalisation, more and more foods and food products are being traded around the world. Ensuring that these foods are of a high quality and safe to eat when they reach the consumer requires reliable food analysis techniques.
However, different countries currently use different methods to test foods for the presence of harmful substances in food.
The Monitoring and Quality Assurance (Moniqa) project aims to make the food chain safer by harmonising the methods used to analyse food for safety and quality.
"The resulting harmonised analytical strategies and methods, databases and training modules will extend beyond the network to associated partners and involved stakeholders," according to a brief of the project. "Food production industries and SMEs will benefit through harmonised analytical methods and technologies, as will the end consumers."
The project groups researchers and industry partners in 20 countries along an exchange network. They will create a virtual laboratory outlining details of food safety issues and the various food testing and analysis methods in use.
Through this the researchers will be able to exchange data and knowledge, helping them to develop common strategies which could form the basis of new standards in food quality and safety, according to the project brief.
The researchers also plan to investigate the food quality and safety implications of new processing technologies, and identify future research needs.
"By implementing joint research programmes and promoting exchanges of researchers between the partners, the project partners hope to develop solutions which will be acceptable to consumers, manufacturers and regulatory bodies as well as other groups involved in the food chain," they said.
The Moniqa project is coordinated by the Vienna-based International Association for Cereal Science and Technology, and is set to receive just over €12 million from the EU's Sixth Framework Programme's 'Food Quality and Safety' budget.
Link: www.moniqa.org .