Provision of food quality and safety in the globalised food chain with interaction involving government, industry, academia, traders and consumers
The globalised food markets, advances in technologies, and changes in consumer habits require that food safety standards in EUare harmonised to deal with the challenges demanded by consumers and traders. A major problem in this respect is the fragmentation in food quality and safety assessment of contaminants categories covered by the current EU and national legislation governing maximum permissible levels in food or feed exists.
UFT is part of International Association for Monitoring and Quality Assurance (MoniQA) in the Food Supply Chain. The Assosiation is working to improve global collaboration in food safety&quality assurance by facilitating research cooperation and serving international organisations, governments and local authorities by providing expertise, tools and services for a safer and secure food supply.
A toolbox for for predicting socio economic impact of regulations and a searchable and rational database has been developed within MoniQA. The search functionality allows users to search for food and feed safety alerts notifications by commodity, contaminant, country of origin and/or reporting countries
The MoniQA results are currently used by the policy makers in Bulgaria with regards to food quality standartisation, incl. Bulgarian Food Safety Agency and the EC Directorates General SANCO when developing guidance specific to the validation of quantitative methods for food allergens.
The food businesses also benefit from the database content.
The total budget to set up MoniQA association and support of the R&D activitiesl was EUR 12 400 000
The practice was set up and run by the network of project partners which worked with representatives of various stakeholders – academia, food businesses, analytical labs, governmental bodies and NGO
Evidence of success
MoniQA is a successful international and interdisciplinary network of professionals from institutions working in food research, regulatory bodies and trade, providing solutions to promote a safer and secure food supply. It facilitates international research collaborations to enable services and products for food safety & quality assurance.
In Bulgaria annual conferences and training seminars provide update to policy makers, researchers and business ensuring the food quality and safety standard
The challenges include:
- establishment of partner network with harmonised rules of working to achieve common goals
- maintanance and update of databases along with other work commitments
- discrepancy between economic standards and gap in R&D and technology transfer in the partner countroes
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice is a good example of establishment of global collaboration and in overcoming a numerous challenges and gaps between countries and regions in the food safety and quality issues.
The practice was not only successful but proved to be needed and sustainable since it is continued by the MoniQA Association and various further projects between the MoniQA partners. It serves international organisations, governments and local authorities by providing expertise, tools and services to ensure a safer and secure food supply.
MoniQA’s initiative resulted in publication of a Guidance Document on the special requirements and production of gluten-free reference materials. The Guidance is used by the Bulgarian food safety responsible organisation as well as EC Directorates General SANCO. Accompanying research and the optimization of the production scheme to provide basic and incurred reference materials, spiked samples and extracts have been initiated.