"Towards harmonisation of analytical methods for"
MoniQA NoE - Towards harmonisation of analytical methods for monitoring food quality and safety in the food supply chain ROLAND E POMS ICC, International Association for Cereal Science and Technology, Marxergasse 2, A-1030 Vienna, Austria firstname.lastname@example.org MoniQA NoE MoniQA (Monitoring and Quality Assurance in the food supply chain) is an EU funded project coordinated by ICC. MoniQA is a Network of Excellence in the thematic area of quality and safety control strategies for food and will aim at the harmonisation of analytical methods for monitoring food quality and safety in the food supply chain. 1. Project summary The MONIQA (“Towards harmonisation of analytical methods for monitoring food quality and safety in the food supply chain”) NoE seeks to establish durable integration of leading research institutions, industrial partners and SMEs working in complementary fields of analytical methods for food quality and safety. MONIQA aims at overcoming European and worldwide fragmentation in food quality and safety (Q&S) research by integrating key organisations in a core consortium. Benefits through dissemination and joint research will also be available to associated partners (=associates). The core consortium (=partners / members) seek to establish mechanisms for coordinating and finally merging research activities, personnel and infrastructure. The industry and SME sector will benefit through application of the harmonised detection method and technologies, as will the consumers of high quality and safe food. The core consortium comprises a network of 34 members. The geographic diversity covers 11 EU member states (21 partners), 2 Associated Candidate Countries (3 partners), 2 Associated countries (2 partners), 1 MPC country (1 partner) and 4 Asian/Oceanic countries (5 partners). From the 34 members, 14 are research institutions (RES), 13 are centres of higher education (HE), 2 are industry partners and 5 are other organisations (NGO, small companies). Seven SMES are full partners in the consortium. Ten of the partners have a female leader (about 30%). A total of 155 researchers and doctoral students are planned for integration into the network with more than 40% of female researchers and more than 55% of female PhD students. Using the calculation provided in the Guideline, this results in a calculated Grant for Integration of €12,300,000 for a duration of 5 years. 1 2. Project objectives The MONIQA NoE seeks to establish durable integration of leading research institutions, industrial partners and SMES working in complementary fields of detections and methods for food quality and safety. MONIQA aims at overcoming European and worldwide fragmentation in food quality and safety (Q&S) research by integrating key organisations in a core consortium. Benefits through dissemination and joint research will also be available to associated partners (=associates). The core consortium (=partners / members) seek to establish mechanisms for coordinating and finally merging research activities, personnel and infrastructure. The industry and SME sector will benefit through application of the harmonised detection method and technologies, as will the consumers of high quality and safe food. MONIQA will play an important role in integrating European and worldwide food quality and safety research by creating a virtual laboratory for joint research, training, dissemination and mobility programmes. It will allow and actively promote sharing of data and knowledge, as well as of equipment, materials and personnel through creation of a global platform for food Q&S researchers. Integrating activities will enable shared access to world’s best research facilities, technological platforms, software, analytical tools and knowledge. The joint research programme will allow high quality research directed towards the most pressing issues fulfilling both food quality and safety policies, as well as citizens’ concerns. The network will establish a virtual laboratory to develop common strategies for harmonising and validating detection methods and technologies strategies to set new standards in food quality and safety initially within the production and extending to the whole food supply chain. 3. The ten-point programme of specific objectives for the full duration of the MONIQA NoE For Durable Integration 1. Merge partner strengths into a portfolio of synergetic research to meet emerging food quality and safety challenges on global scale. 2. Establish a mobility programme to promote the exchange of personnel for both short term secondments and full relocation within the network of participant institutions. 3. Achieve a sustainable network to ensure durable integration of international research institutions through development of joint economic models, research programmes and intellectual property. For Joint Research 4. Develop harmonisation strategies (guidelines) for risk assessment and standardisation of detection methods and technologies in food safety and quality. 5. Assess implications of advanced processing and monitoring technologies implemented in modern HACCP systems. Identify and prioritise gaps and needs for future food quality and safety research. 6. Design and generate a user-friendly database of food quality and safety issues and corresponding analytical tools for food production and supply chain. 7. Perform socio-economic analyses on the impact of new regulations and on the implementation of harmonised methods and technologies within new HACCP systems. For Spreading of Excellence 8. Facilitate knowledge sharing within the network and dissemination to food production and supply chain and other relevant stakeholder groups for harmonisation of, and compliance with food quality and safety standards. 9. Define requirements for, and set up training programmes to achieve harmonised levels of know-how and skills, along with mutual recognition of qualifications for academics and industry. For Consortium Management 10. Establish an efficient management structure with quality assurance to that can be sustained beyond the EC funding. 2 4. Key deliverables (resulting from the ten-point programme) 1 The MONIQA network has an operational system to facilitate sharing of research infrastructure, equipment and databases. 2 A fully functional mobility programme allowing easy and regular exchange of personnel between network member organisations. 3 A sustainability programme to ensure economic durability and long term co-operation of the network and the network management. 4 Harmonisation guidelines for risk assessment and standardisation of detection methods and emerging technologies. 5 Report of modernisation potential in monitoring and quality assurance in the food supply chain employing advanced on-line technology including a research agenda (2010 – 2020). 6 Database of food quality and safety issues and corresponding analytical tools for food production and supply chain available to network members and associates. 7 Economic analysis reports of the impact of new regulations and the implementation of harmonised detection methods and technologies applied within new HACCP systems. 8 Knowledge management platform and culture; dissemination activities; web site and dissemination material, annual network meetings including associates and bi-annual conference for taking place in various countries. 9 International curricula of mutually recognised training courses (including e-learning) and qualifications for both university and industry. 10 An efficient and quality assured network management scheme that can be sustained beyond the EC funding. 3 5. Participant List ID Country Organisation Short Full Legal Name name International Association for Cereal Science and 1 AT ICC Technology 2 AT Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, BOKU 3 Egypt Ain Shams University ASU Campden and Chorleywood Food Research 4 UK CCFRA Association 5 BE Centre d´Economie Rurale (CER Groupe) CER 6 DE Eurofins Analytik GmbH Eurofins 7 ES Centro Tecnologico Gaiker Gaiker 8 UK Central Science Laboratory CSL 9 GR International Quality and Environment Services S.A. Q-Plan 10 TR Tübitak Marmara Research Center TUBITAK 11 BG University of Food Technologies UFT 12 IL VocalTag Ltd. VTAG 13 FI VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT 14 IT University of Naples Federico II DSA 15 NO Norwegian Food Research Institute Matforsk 16 GR National Technical University of Athens NTUA National Institute for Public Health and the 17 NL RIVM Environment 18 CN Sichuan University SCU Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la 19 IT INRAN Nutrizione 20 HU Budapest University of Technology and Economics BUTE 21 NZ Institute of Environmental Science and Research ESR 22 DE Freie Universität Berlin FUB 23 PL National Food and Nutrition Institute NFNI 24 TR Hacettepe University HCTU 25 CN Chinese Cereals and oils association CCOA 26 Indonesia Bogor Agricultural University IPB 27 VN Hanoi University of Technology HUT 28 UK Institute of Food Research IFR 29 IT National Research Council CNR 30 AT RTD Services RTDS 31 BE IRMM- Joint Research Centre IRMM 32 DE Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn Uni-Bonn Interdisciplinary Centre for Comparative Research in 33 AT ICCR the Social Sciences 34 IT University of Bologna UNIBO 4 6. Relevance to the objectives of the Food Quality and Safety Priority 6.1 Policy and Legislative Background Although the Common Agricultural Policy implemented by the European Commission met the Treaty’s objective to provide the EU population with sufficient food supply, citizens increasingly now question both quality and safety of food. A number of recent crises related such as BSE in various Member States, the dioxin crisis in Belgium and the GMO issue have fuelled the discussion. In addition, the trade conflict between the EU and the US on the import of beef produced with hormones and the increasing role of gene technology in food production have as a consequence that safety concerns are more and more prominent on the political agenda. Citizens are concerned not only at the safety of EU-produced food but also at the consequences of the increasing trade liberalisation on the imports of food products from non-EU countries. At the other end the increasing threats through bioterrorism both microbiological and chemical have a major impact on security and analytical measures to be taken in quick response to occurrence. With the publication on 12 January 2000 of the Commission’s White Paper on Food Safety, the issue of food safety has had a major influence on the agri-food industry stating that “the European Union needs to re-establish public confidence in its food supply, its food science, its food law and its food control”. The White Paper action plan for food safety stipulated that HACCP was to be adopted within proposals for Regulations on feed and hygiene by the Commission in June 2000 and adopted by the Council / Parliament by June 2002. As a result the legislative basis for achieving hygiene throughout the food chain comprises Reg. EC 178/2002, Dir. 93/43/EEC, Reg. E.C. 852/2004 which are mandatory to all food establishments (food industry, food service). Articles 17 (Responsibilities) and 18 (Traceability) from EC 178/2002 are of particular relevance: Article 17 (1) imposes on food business operators an obligation according to which they must actively participate in implementing food law requirements by verifying that such requirements are met. This general requirement is closely linked to other mandatory requirements laid down by specific legislation (i.e. HACCP implementation in the field of food hygiene). ….. each link in the food chain should take the measures necessary to ensure compliance with food law requirements within the context of its own specific activities, applying HACCP- type principles and other similar instruments. Article 18: Experience has shown that the functioning of the internal market in food or feed can be jeopardised where it is impossible to trace food and feed. It is therefore necessary to establish a comprehensive system of traceability within food and feed businesses so that targeted and accurate withdrawals can be undertaken or information given to consumers or control officials, thereby avoiding the potential for unnecessary wider disruption in the event of food safety problems. Recent food scares (BSE and dioxin crisis) have demonstrated that the identification of the origin of feed and food is of prime importance for the protection of consumers. In particular, traceability helps facilitate the withdrawal of food and enables consumers to be provided with targeted and accurate information concerning implicated products. Traceability does not itself make food safe. It is a risk management tool to be used in order to assist in containing a food safety problem. 5 The MONIQA network will focus on Area 5.4.5 Methods of analysis, detection and control and in particular Topic 220.127.116.11 Quality and safety control strategies for food. Without sufficient detection methods and technologies, the traceability and responsibilities cited in the above articles will not be able carried out across the food chain as needed. The Joint Research Programme will concentrate on developing common strategies for harmonising and validating detection methods and technologies for application into new HACCP systems at critical stages of the food production and supply chains. Not only legislation, but also implementation procedures are necessary to gain commitment from manufacturers and retailers to explain the origin of a product and to ensure quality and safety; not only with standard systems for all member states, but also for the food products of non-EU origin. These challenges require new research activities to find the short- and medium-term solutions concerning quality control systems, with the aim of harmonising quality and safety control procedures and systems that ensure widespread the implementation and application through a wide range of food producers, processors and distributors i.e. the full supply chain. 6.2 Food quality and safety issues in the future The MONIQA NoE will initially be a virtual melting pot of key players, which will lead to durable integration of a diverse set of food quality and safety research institutions. Being led by two international organisations (ICC in Europe and CCOA in China) as well as involving industry, SMEs and standardisation bodies, new harmonised food quality and safety strategies will be established encompassing policies and legislation, technologies (detection sensors, automation systems and the advances in software development and remote control) and methods such as processes enabling the performance monitoring of automated and intelligent HACCP systems tailored each and every food production and transformation process. The global approach of the MONIQA NoE is essential to deal with food quality and safety issues in the future, such as new pathogens that may arise as a consequence of factors outside of the food producers are of influence – see the section “Food supply network” in B4. The food chain has become the complex network of interacting chains which can cross several international borders before the final product actually reaches the table. This leads to the issue of world trade - especially with suppliers from developing countries. 6.3 Europe’s responsibility towards the developing world – responding to global challenges Domestic European policies with regard to life sciences and biotechnology are bound to have major impacts on developing countries. Whilst not compromising EU food safety requirements or consumer information policies, the EU are committed to provide technical assistance and capacity building ensuring that EU domestic policies do not hinder economic development in third countries. This refers specifically to regulatory requirements that may be manageable only in the industrial world but are unachievable by developing countries, thereby either upsetting existing trade or effectively blocking developing countries from developing life sciences and biotechnology. The European agenda for international collaboration has defined the so-called Action 24 for implementation from 2002 onwards: “The Commission should continue to play a leading role in developing international guidelines, standards and recommendations in relevant sectors, based on international scientific consensus and, in particular, push for the development of a consistent, science- 6 based, focused, transparent, inclusive and integrated international system dealing with food safety issues.” Life sciences and biotechnology – A Strategy for Europe – EC Communication 2002 The MONIQA NoE has integrated research institutes from important INCO and Third countries such as China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Israel, Egypt, New Zealand and South Africa. Non-EU partners make up nearly 50% of the core consortium plus numerous more as associates. The global aspects of MONIQA are well covered. 7. Potential impact 7.1 Contributions to standards The food and drink industry is the largest manufacturing sector in Europe with a turnover of 810 billion Euro in 2004 with an export potential valued at around 50 billion Euro. The sector is an important pillar of the economy in many EU Member States, employing over 4 million people, the majority (60%) within the SMEs sector, supporting some 280,000 companies (99% are SMEs) and generates a positive trade balance with the rest of the world. The European food and drink industry covers a market of 450 million consumers in the EU and transforms more than 70% of the EU’s agricultural raw materials into added value products. Moreover, it imports many raw materials from around the world and re-exports them after processing. This ability to add value provides the European agro-food industry with a competitive advantage, but even large companies involved in food manufacture are unable to incorporate all of the current advances in food research. R&D fragmentation of detection methods and technologies for food quality and safety The detection and quantification of biological and chemical contaminants – preferably as rapidly and reliably as possible – is extremely important in managing the safety of food and feed. Implementation of consumer protection regulations and developments in analytical techniques has led to the emergence of a wide range of rapid and novel methods and high throughput methods to complement the traditional methods. The R&D of rapid methods and technologies is fragmented due to small company/unit sizes and a relatively short life span of such methods. Rapid methods, in particular in the format of test kits and/or fast and easy protocols, play an ever increasing role in the assurance of food safety requirements in industry and regulatory institutions. For best practice in QM (quality management) rapid methods may be employed to measure effectiveness of food safety measures (e.g. in HACCP, hazard analysis of critical control points) and to promote a pro-active food safety approach within the factory environment (from raw material, over the finished product, to consumer). For public health institutions and enforcement authorities, rapid methods offer the possibility for just-in-time intervention to prevent or minimise outbreaks. Achieving harmonisation of detection methods and technologies for assuring the quality and safety of food through application into new HACCP systems will open completely new markets for third countries. This has obvious benefits for developing economies, which currently can not all supply the world markets because they do not have access to cost efficient tools to assure food quality and safety. Likewise, the industrialised nations could benefit more from these food sources if they are confident in the quality and safety of these suppliers. 7.2 Contributions to policy developments Contribution to the European Research Area The proposed network is intended to address the fragmentation in analytical tools and evaluation criteria for food quality and safety research undertaken within Europe and worldwide. The MONIQA NoE will establish formal links between a complementary set of 7 institutions active within this area and to enable research collaboration in both physical and virtual working environments. Traditionally, innovations have been bound to a country or even an institution or individuals. The intention with the network is to encourage sharing of knowledge about food quality and safety technologies and methods to define harmonised approaches that will benefit all stakeholders in the food chain, which covers the entire society – right down to the consumer. The potential impact of the Food Supply “Network” In the light of recently documented crises and outbreaks emerging along the food chain and observed all over the world, food safety has become an issue of major importance for the European Community. Due to this development and the fact that food safety is of paramount importance for public health, there is an urgent need for considering and monitoring all aspects of food safety on an international basis. Furthermore, the European food industry has shown pronounced interest in the topic of food quality and food safety management, since ensuring high food quality and safety have to be primary aims for producers and distributors. Researchers and industry alike are challenged with meeting both increasingly stringent regulations and higher expectations of consumers concerning food quality and safety. This was the premise which formed the basic priorities for conception of the joint programme of activities. Problems faced in meeting new expectations in food quality and safety are no longer bound by national boundaries or even within a continent. Globalisation of the world economy has led to extremely complex food supply chains, which now call for new harmonised standards in detection and methods and technologies, which can ensure quality and safety every step of the food production and supply network. As shown in Fig. 1 – it can no longer be simply termed a “chain”. Fig. 1: The food supply “network” (Source: European Technology Platform on Food for Life) Even though formats and methods for the detection of various food hazards/contaminants are based on similar principles, each kind of food (animal-based, plant-based, sea-food- based or drinking water) poses specific challenges in hazard management and analysis. Standardisation and harmonisation of methods and protocols are necessary to reach a common level of food security and safety, which will have a great impact on the local 8 markets, but also on import and export of foods as well as on surveillance programmes of global dimension. The minimum requirements of novel methods and technologies are largely dependent on the degree of safety required, the availability of sensitive (traditional?) methods, and the legal/regulatory requirements of national and international authorities, such as limit of detection, LOD, limit of quantitation, LOQ, repeatability and reproducibility, RSD, recovery, precision, and specificity/selectivity, and all within the limits of measurement uncertainties. Additionally, matrix effects and processing effects must be taken into account when evaluating the performance of methods and the reliability and relevance of generated results. However, validation and standardization of such methods by employing (certified) reference materials and reference methods is a pre-requisite for global application and reliability of rapid methods. Currently guidelines for validation criteria for rapid methods are under preparation by various national (e.g. DIN, AFNOR, etc.) and international organisations, such as CEN and ISO Harmonisation of validation and standardization protocols is necessary for mutual recognition (between countries and organisations) of international standards. For best efficacy and cost efficiency it is extremely important to establish co-ordinated efforts for method standardization – currently there is a lack of information and communication between validation organisations, which has led to numerous independent/parallel studies dealing with the same issues and performed by various (national or international organisations) without mutual recognition of the results. Overcoming fragmentation in food quality and safety in research and industry At present there is fragmentation and under-utilised synergies between leading research institutions, industrial partners and SMEs on detection methods for food (and feed) quality and safety (Q&S) in Europe and worldwide. There is a lack of harmonisation strategies and tools (e.g. guidelines and standards) for risk assessment and standardisation of detection methods and technologies on food (and feed) as well as for Q&S and traceability management of food sub-sectors (e.g. dairy, meat, fish, vegetables, etc.). There is a need to improve the ability of SMEs, in particular, and Industry in general, to exploit knowledge and innovation across the food chain (network) taking into account that many SMEs in this sector are technologically unsophisticated. A main challenge would be to achieve a high level of transparency between individual production stages and to share risks and benefits along the value chain (network) under the aim of harmonisation and standardisation of methodological strategies that would be valid for all food industries and for worldwide application. Many times the industry and SMEs are very sceptical in adoption of analytical tools for food production and food supply chain (network), concerning corresponding food safety hazards. This scepticism is increased by the differentiations of the legislation of developed and developing countries. The development of a HACCP System in a food sector is based on Codex Alimentarius and the recent ISO 22000 standard (or other country standards based on Codex). Specialists may face problems in developing a HACCP System, because there is variety of hazards related both to the food sector itself and to the former and the previous sectors in the food supply network. In addition legislation differs from country to country for the various food safety issues (especially for the hot topics), or new hazards may emerge (taking also into consideration bioterrorism). 9 8. Conclusions The main objectives of this Network of Excellence (NoE) in the thematic area of “Quality and safety control strategies for food” is overcoming research fragmentation in the EU and worldwide through durable integration of complimentary food safety research institutions with the aim of developing common strategies for harmonising and standardising analytical methods and technologies to assure food safety, improve food quality, and increase consumer confidence. Within the project common strategies for harmonising and validating detection methods and technologies while providing an economic analysis of their application into tailor-made HACCP systems at critical stages of the food production and supply chains will be developed. These strategies should also provide the operational designs of user- friendly databases for various hazards in food based on standardised data. Novel operational approaches for the production of ready-to-use guidelines on risk assessment and tools for stimulating e-learning and dissemination of the results via workshops should also be conceived. The core consortium of MoniQA comprises a network of 34 member institutions from 20 countries. A total of 155 researchers, including 41 doctoral students are planned for integration into the network. 10