Mon 2 Feb 09 13:01

New-found food safety Conffidence

Source of Article:

A new European research programme Conffidence aims to deliver safer food through rapid and cost-efficient tests to detect chemical contaminants in food.

The project will also work on animal feed and is being co-ordinated by Rikilt The Institute of Food Safety at Wageningen in the Netherlands.

Conffidence hopes to replace costly existing methods to monitor and control chemical contaminants with new simplified techniques that work more quickly and can identify more than one specific chemical at a time.

The project has been designed to provide long-term solutions to the monitoring of a wide variety of chemical contaminants. These include pesticides, persistent organic pollutants, veterinary pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, heavy metals, plant and shellfish toxins and mycotoxins. Tests will be developed and validated for vegetables as well as fish and fish feed and cereal-based food and feed. A balanced mix of novel technologies will be utilized. These include dipstick tests that can be used in the same way as pregnancy tests, and low-cost laboratory-based high-throughput methods.

After completion, the simplified methods will be used to perform international food surveys that will contribute to measurement of consumer exposure to chemical contaminants.

The CONff IDENCE consortium consists of 17 partners from 10 European countries. The project is being supported financially by the European Union and national governments and is expected to last four years.

The UKs Central Science Laboratory is taking part and its work within the project is funded by Defra in addition to the European Commission. One of its areas of focus will be on pesticides. The initial two years of work will concentrate on developing methods and testing equipment, while years three and four will shift focus on to dissemination, exploitation, and surveys with the new technology.



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