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Gaiker-IK4 Evaluates Rapid Diagnosis Techniques Guaranteeing Safety of Foodstuffs During Their Life Cycle

Gaiker-IK4 researchers are participating jointly with more than 500 experts from 40 countries in the MoniQA (Monitoring and Quality Assurance in the Food Supply Chain) network of excellence. This is a network which has a budget of over 12 million euros, the aim of which is to harmonise, at an international level, rapid analytical methods which, integrated with information and communication technologies (ITC), enable ensuring and controlling the quality of foodstuffs throughout the whole food chain, from the primary production stage to the dinner table.

In recent years new demands from consumers, increasingly aware of the implications of food and eating habits for health, have given special relevance to the levels of food safety and traceability offered to the consumer, improving, even more if it is possible, the control techniques for raw materials, processes and end-product. Recent events, such as the current food scare in Germany, have only served to intensify this growing social sensitivity to food safety and traceability.

The European Union, aware for some time now of the need to provide a coherent answer to this matter, laid down a decade ago the corresponding mechanisms for standards, defining la traceability as “the possibility of finding and following the traces of a foodstuff, animal fodder, an animal destined for food or for fodder, or with a probability of being so, throughout all their stages of production, transformation and distribution” (ISO 8402). The MoniQA network of excellence falls within this remit.

The main task of Gaiker-IK4 in the MoniQA network is focused on the coordination of tasks related to the identification of food risks, drawing up references, materials for the harmonisation of analytical methods, validation of methods and the generation of a data base containing information regarding food safety at an international level (legislation, food alerts, existing analytical methods for food control).

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