Rapid Screening for Safe Food

Open for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

22 March 2023


New - Collecting or Evaluating proposals


 The objective of this CRP is to develop or adapt and test transferable, reliable, rapid, cost-effective, affordable, sensitive, field-deployable and high-throughput targeted and untargeted nuclear and complementary techniques to support analytical food control programs in Member States. This methodology will help food safety laboratories in Member States to rapidly and effectively assess potential food safety challenges along the entire food supply chain, thereby protecting the health of the consumers and facilitating trade. The ultimate goal is to generate fit-for-purpose data and information vital for rapid decision making in emergency response situations (foodborne disease or situations in which normal food control mechanisms are compromised, such as pandemic, natural disasters, geopolitical instabilities, etc.), to enable remedial actions and mitigation measures.
Along the farm-to-fork chain, many food safety and fraud challenges may be present, resulting in food products contaminated with various types of safety hazards, including biological hazards, chemical hazards, hazardous adulterants  and physical hazards. The presence of these hazards can affect the safety of food, therefore monitoring foods for compliance with existing food safety regulations is important to help guarantee public health and facilitate trade. This requires increased control of food products and availability of analytical laboratories to rapidly generate fit-for-purpose scientific data on the type of food safety challenges and, when the hazards have been identified, on the levels and occurrences. Currently, this is mainly achieved using standardized laboratory-based analytical methods. However, field-deployable methods using portable and hand-held devices in conjunction with existing confirmatory, laboratory-based methods, would significantly help improve food safety along the farm-to-fork chain.
The field-deployable methods developed in the CRP will be tested and applied in middle and low-income countries and tested for robustness, reliability, and simplicity in the hands of non-scientific operators. Chemometrics approaches will be developed to analyse results and interpret the data, and appropriate quality control/ quality assurance procedures will be elaborated to ensure the validity of the results. The chemical hazards to be considered under the will be be prioritized based on relevant food safety issues and relevant regulations. The project will focus on the detection and control of important contaminants (e.g.., mycotoxins), and residues (e.g., pesticides and veterinary drugs). The occurrence of mycotoxins is expected to become more widespread due to climate change, so methods to quickly detect them are an essential response to mitigate the food safety impacts of climate change. Pesticide residues are perceived by consumers as amongst the most important chemical food contaminants. Food adulteration is also of concern, especially if harmful adulterants, e.g. Sudan dyes in palm oil or spices, are being used. The screening of veterinary drug residues in food of animal origins is important to contribute data relevant to the control of veterinary drug use and to provide information on antimicrobial resistance development and transfer.

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