EU funds four food safety projects

Several European-funded food safety projects have officially started.

The Food Safety for Africa (FS4Africa) project is designed to address traceability, authenticity, and food safety issues in the continent.

Challenges aiming to be tackled include mycotoxin contamination in multiple food crops, pesticide residues in grains and vegetables, microbial contamination, particularly E. coli, and food adulteration. The goal is to improve African food safety systems, with attention on the informal sector, through policy development and implementation of existing policies.

With almost €5 million ($5.4 million) in funding under Horizon Europe, the project, coordinated by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria, runs until December 2027. Other partners include Wageningen University, the University of Pretoria, the African Union Development Agency, Foodscale Hub, Innovation Technology Cluster, and Bayer.

A separate project will focus on food safety practices and mycotoxin contamination in all aspects of food production, distribution, marketing, and consumption.

UP-RISE EU-African Union will include field work in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. Outputs will be demonstrated on five fermented food product value chains based on maize, millet, sorghum or milk and will be implemented in 10 SMEs in the target member states.

Efforts cover strengthening the regulatory framework with a focus on mycotoxins in formal and informal sectors; early warning to prevent mycotoxin contamination and adapt to climate change; prevention of food loss and improving food safety by providing solutions for mycotoxin reduction.

With more than €5 million ($5.4 million) in EU funding, the project, coordinated by Ghent University, also runs until December 2027. Other partners are the National Research Council (CNR), the University of Nairobi, Women in Africa, ADS Insight, and the Université de Montpellier.

Information sharing and mycotoxins in beans
Another project will try to support adoption of knowledge and innovative solutions along the value chain.

CATALYSE aims to bridge the gap between end users, innovators, practitioners, trainers, and regulators by facilitating communication among these parties while acknowledging practical needs.

Partners will provide food safety education and training, and support food business start-ups and SMEs. Data on inventions and practices related to food safety will be made available on an open access platform to support communication.

With under €2 million ($2.1 million) in funding, the project, coordinated by Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, runs until December 2026. Other partners include Nofima, the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST), Ruokavirasto, FoodDrinkEurope, and the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES).

A fourth project will explore emerging risks due to the occurrence of mycotoxins in legumes intended as alternative plant proteins.

MYCOBEANS will bring innovation in mycotoxins diagnostics, toxicological evaluation, and biotechnological mitigation along the plant protein supply chain.

The consortium, led by the University of Parma, includes Barilla and R-Biopharm. Queen’s University Belfast, Lynn’s Country Foods, and the National Science and Technology Development Agency in Thailand are among the partners. The EU has contributed more than €700,000 ($757,000) to the project which ends in December 2027.

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