Launch Conference for Five new EU-funded food research projects, 11 October in London

October 7, 2005

Brussels, 06 Oct 2005


  • Dr Christian Patermann, European Commission, Director of Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food research
  • Prof Chris Elliott, Veterinary Sciences Division, Queen's University Belfast. Coordinator for BioCop
  • Dr Paul Finglas, Institute of Food Research. Coordinator for Eurofir
  • Dr Clare Mills, Institute of Food Research. Coordinator for EuroPrevall
  • Dr Craig Faulds, Institute of Food Research. Deputising for coordinator of REPRO (Dr Keith Waldron)
  • Dr Paul Brereton, Central Science Laboratory. Coordinator for TRACE

Launch conference for five European food research projects

9:30 for 10:30 start, Tuesday 11th October
(followed by lunch at 12:30)

"Museum in Docklands", Canary Wharf, London
(for map & directions:

Food allergy appears to be increasing. Pressure is mounting to reduce food waste. More consumers want to know where and how their food is produced. Public concern about contaminants in food is growing. Meanwhile a single source of food composition data for nutrients and bioactive compounds is needed to validate the relationships between dietary habits and diet-related chronic disease.

On 11 October in London, five new EU-funded research projects in the food area will be launched in London. These European projects, all led by UK institutions, will address above issues by generating new science and new collaborations. The presentations will be introduced by Christian Patermann, Director of Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food of the Research DG of the European Commission. Then, the five project coordinators will each present details of the research to be funded, including scientific research on food allergy such as exploring whether early signs of predisposition to allergy can be found in the human genes. Other projects aim to reduce food waste, develop techniques to verify the origin of food, establish better methods to monitor food contaminants including pesticides and create a single authoritative source of food composition data in Europe.

Programme - Tuesday, 11 October 2005

9:30 Registration / arrival

10:30 Speakers

Dr Christian Patermann, European Commission, Director of Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food research

Prof Chris Elliott, Veterinary Sciences Division, Queen's University Belfast. Coordinator for BioCop, a project to screen foodstuffs for multiple chemical contaminants, including pesticides, toxins and drugs.

Dr Paul Finglas, Institute of Food Research. Coordinator for Eurofir, a project to develop comprehensive food composition data to underpin all food and health research throughout Europe.

Dr Clare Mills, Institute of Food Research. Coordinator for EuroPrevall, which aims to generate research findings to help individuals, industry and policy-makers manage and reduce food allergies.

Dr Craig Faulds, Institute of Food Research. Deputising for coordinator of REPRO (Dr Keith Waldron), a project to develop advance methods to reduce food waste.

Dr Paul Brereton, Central Science Laboratory. Coordinator for TRACE, a project to develop methods, e.g. geo- and bio-climatic mapping, to ensure food can be traced to its source. Some of the work will focus on "added value" products labelled 'as of designated origin' or 'organic'.

12:30-14:00 Lunch

More information on projects can be found in the appendix:

Media contact:

Michael H. Wappelhorst, Press and information officer
Information and communication Unit, Research DG, European Commission
Tel: +32.2.298 75 75, Fax: +32.2.295 82 20

Appendix - The 5 projects launched on 11 October 2005

Food allergy –

EuroPrevall aims is to deliver improved quality of life for food allergic people. More specifically, EuroPrevall will:

  • Characterise the patterns and prevalence of food allergies across Europe in infants, children and adults.

  • Use samples and information from the surveys to identify risk factors (e.g. environmental, microbial or genetic) and novel predictive markers (e.g. biochemical and genetic) for food allergy, which would allow implementation of preventive measures, for example during pregnancy).

  • Improve the quality of food allergy diagnosis, reducing the need for food challenge tests.

  • Investigate how the food matrix affects allergenicity of foods, including food processing procedures.

  • Determine the impact of food allergies on the quality of life and its economic cost for food allergic people and their families, workplace and employers, and healthcare.

EuroPrevall involves 16 European member states, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Iceland and Ghana. Contact: Dr Clare Mills, +44/1603 255295

Food waste - /

Food processors and producers are under increasing pressure to reduce their disposal of surplus co-products. Such residues are biologically complex, and if discarded as waste can often be environmentally unfriendly, and often microbiologically unstable.

Around 3.4 million tonnes of spent grain from the brewing industry and over 1 million tonnes of vegetable trimmings from the vegetable processing industry (Eurostat) are produced in the EU every year. Their improved exploitation will:

  • Reduce the environmental impact of food waste (reducing landfill, lessening noxious residues and odours)

  • Enhance the sustainable management of organic matter from food production and processing;

  • Contribute to integrated resource and waste management

  • Promote environmentally-friendly processing methods

  • Increase industrial competitiveness

  • Provide natural ingredients for the food and feed industries

  • Contribute to food quality and safety

Food origin and authenticity - /

TRACE aims to improve the health and well-being of European citizens by delivering improved traceability of food products along entire fork to farm food chains. TRACE will develop cost effective analytical methods integrated within sector-specific and generic traceability systems that will enable the determination and the objective verification of the origin of food.

TRACE will also assess European consumer perceptions, attitudes, and expectations regarding food production systems and their ability-to-trace food products, together with, consumer attitudes to designated origin products, food authenticity and food fraud. A programme of demonstration activities performed by the food industry will critically appraise of the developed traceability systems to ensure they are cost effective and fit for purpose. Technology transfer activities will train industry, regulatory bodies and analysts in the new systems and methods.

The project involves 47 European organisations from 12 EU Member States and 3 Associated Countries plus one third Country (China) and has a budget of €18.9 million (EC funding €11.96 million). The organisations comprise of research institutes, universities and private companies (of which 12 are SMEs).

The applicability of the project to the consumer and industry will be assured through the combination of an Independent Advisory Board and Observers. These represent major stakeholders, industry and consumers associations and will ensure that the outputs of the project are relevant and meet the needs of consumers and industry alike.

Food contaminants -

The BioCop initiative, led by Professor Chris Elliott from the Veterinary Sciences Division, of Queen's University and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, has received EU funding of £6.7 million to screen a variety of foodstuffs for multiple chemical contaminants, including pesticides, toxins and drugs. It is believed this is the largest food safety project of its kind in the world.

The research team from Northern Ireland will be joined in the five-year project by 32 partners from 15 European countries as well as Canada in an effort to develop new technologies which will help ensure that any hidden dangers in many foods are detected long before being consumed by the public.

The unique initiative involves the use of highly novel techniques aimed at 'finger printing' foodstuffs to discover if they contain any chemical contaminants.

Food composition data -

EuroFIR (The European Food Information Resource Network) is a five-year project funded by the European Union's Sixth Research Framework Programme. EuroFIR aims to build and disseminate a comprehensive, coherent and validated databank to provide a single, authoritative source of food composition data in Europe for nutrients, and newly emerging bioactive compounds with potential health benefits. Data on the composition of foods are essential for a variety of purposes in many fields of work, for example this information will be used by food manufacturers and producers, to calculate nutrient values for food labelling purposes.

Further information and to attend

DG Research
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