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Funding programme / funding institution: Europäische Union (EU) - Belgien

Grant number: 101060698

Project homepage: -

Project description:


In Europe, each year foodborne hazards, including bacteria, parasites, bacterial toxins and allergens, already cause more than 20 million cases of illness and thousands of deaths. Foodborne chemical risk, often associated with occurrence of toxins, are of growing concern. Food safety management systems established over the past decades in our European food businesses, and European food safety governance need to be adapted to make the food system more robust towards multiple stressor coming dynamically up (so as climatic impacts).

FoodSafeR aims to design, develop and test the building blocks of an innovative pro-active and holistic food safety warning and management system with a look on the dynamics of emerging risks at its heart. FoodSafeR embodies integrated approaches to hazard characterisation and risk management in a comprehensive suite of future oriented case studies, tools, methods, strategies, models, guidance and training materials. An open and accessible digital hub designed to form a core of a sustaining information system will be set up as a ‘One-Stop-Shop’ vehicle targeted at risk managers and assessors, food safety authorities and the relevant actors and stakeholders operating in the European food system. To reach the ambitious goal, FoodSafeR has united a world-class consortium of 18 organisations from across 14 European countries integrating science, industry, SMEs and policymakers.

FoodSafeR will contribute to prevent food safety incidences occurring from biological and chemical hazards in the European food system as well as relevant socio-economic impacts. By bringing this approach to a success, FoodSafeR contributes to ‘sustainable, healthy and inclusive food systems delivering co-benefits for climate mitigation and adaptation, environmental sustainability and circularity, sustainable healthy nutrition, safe food consumption, food poverty reduction, the empowerment of communities, and flourishing food business operations.


FoodSafeR aims to achieve the following objectives for delivering a next-generation FoodSafeR toolkit for proactive risk management across the European Food System:

Objective 1: To design a future-proof holistic & proactive risk management framework considering multiple criteria in risk assessment & management, & real-time information on the emergence of food safety hazards.

Objective 2: To develop knowledge, science-based tools and approaches for addressing emerging and persisting microbiological hazards and associated risks within selected case studies involving end users

Objective 3: To advance a novel toolbox for combatting chemical contaminants and associated risks based on cutting edge science organised within selected case studies involving end users

Objective 4: To design and build an Open Digital Hub for decision support on food safety management via web, smartphone and tablet applications.

Objective 5: To estimate the effectiveness of food safety risk identification, control and de-escalation measures to improve the resilience of our food system towards food safety shocks, and to design a future proof food safety management system (FSMS) that is robust towards emerging food safety risks.

Objective 6: To encase the project in a well-managed framework for delivering impact.

BfR will be mainly involved in WP2, but will contribute also to WP 1, WP 4 and WP6.

WP1 (Food System Stressors and Future Proof Risk Management): identify drivers & indicators of emerging food safety risks by performing a food system analysis. Emerging risks will be prioritized, including the identification of super risks and conditions for these to arise, and visualised using the risk Escalation Ladder.

Improvements of safety management systems will be designed, taking into account a holistic approach, based on real time information on the identified indicators, cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses, & MCDA strategy, such to arrive at a pro-active and holistic management system for current, emerging and future food safety risks.

WP2 (Microbial Hazards and associated Risks Emergence and Persistence)- focuses on the impact of microbial risk emergence and persistence with a focus on pathogenic bacteria, viruses & antimicrobial resistance traits, from: 1) alternative food networks (e.g. short supply chain compared to conventional chains; 2) new raw materials & food production and distribution systems due to recircularity and sustainability (e.g. protein shift, urban farming); 3) changing consumer habits (online orders) and dietary preferences (ethnic foods, plant-based foods).

Details on tasks in WP2 where BfR is leading:

Task 2.1 Mapping the peculiarities of alternative food networks

Short supply chains (SSCs) or complex branched organically growing collaborative networks on a local level will be compared with global food (of integrated) production chains, considering also new trends like intermediate food chains and circular economy. Using available knowledge and stakeholder interviews, we will assess their main characteristics, with a focus on displaying the food network taking into account the potential impact of ingredients’ origin and production processes on the emergence, occurrence and spread of microbiological hazards. Tools like FOOD Chain lab will be adapted for on the spot and easy to use in these new short and intermediate food supply chains. Templates considering the peculiarities of these new production systems will support FBOs to analyse and display their food supply networks and identify nodes potentially of high risk. This will be developed considering different types of food products. Usefulness and feasibility will be assessed in exemplary approaches in several member states. The outcome will contribute to a support system for risk-oriented analytics.

Task 2.5: Risk of emerging AMR traits-aquaculture as an unresearched case study

The impact for terrestrial and aquatic food production on spread of antimicrobial resistance genes might be different. Especially aquaculture is a worldwide growing business, both in seawater and freshwater housing systems, and while regular monitoring in the EU on AMR covers several terrestrial livestock populations and animal derived food (incl. imported food), limited studies cover aquaculture. To fill gaps highlighted in a recent EFSA opinion, data from National monitoring activities covering fish, aquaculture and vegetables, accessible databases and new studies (including Metagenomics & amplicon-sequencing based studies) will be exploited to improve bioinformatics tools and approaches of artificial intelligence for targeted detection of emerging resistance mechanisms (with a focus on carbapenem resistance) and understanding of transfer mechanisms. Furthermore, a targeted, sampling based approach will involve at least three different aquaculture production systems (including organic/conventional production systems and aquaponics) in at least three European countries (Germany, Austria, Spain or Greece; nine sampling sites). The studies aim to quantify by using microbiological and molecular (microbiome based) methods the role of different contamination sources (with a focus on the impact of manure, human effluents, but also other potential sources) for the food production environment. Focus will be laid on AMR genes in Enterobacterales / E. coli, but to some extent transfer from/to common pathogens in aquaculture (e.g. Vibrio) will be considered too. The sampling based approach will include the assessment of the impact of the antimicrobial residues load in these compartments by applying high throughput chemical analysis (in collaboration with FFoQSI experts, Bridge to other work package).

WP4 (Open Digital Hub)- open, accessible and secure ‘One Stop Shop’ for: centralizing data, accessing all project outputs & tools, community building & virtual participation (LLs), connecting with other relevant digital data sources & services; providing an enduring, scalable & viable pan-EU pathway for wide adoption of project outputs.

WP6 (Path of Participation) ensures the project is encased in a well-managed framework of Open Science principles, robust data management, inclusiveness and gendered innovation, as well as fomenting active participation of stakeholder and citizens and leveraging synergies with other relevant projects and initiatives.

Project partners

  • Austrian Competence Centre for Feed and Food Quality, Safety and Innovation (FFoQSI) - Österreich
  • Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) - Österreich
  • Universität Gent (UGENT) - Belgien
  • Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) - Österreich
  • University of Burgos (UBU) - Spanien
  • Agricultural University of Athens (AUA) - Griechenland
  • The Queen's University of Belfast (QUB) - Irland
  • IRIS Technology Solutions S.L. (IRIS) - Spanien
  • Biosense Institute (BSI) (University of Novi Sad)
  • Biomin Holding GmbH, AUT (Biomin)
  • Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (Barilla) - Italien
  • National Food Chain Safety Office (NEBIH) Budapest - Ungarn
  • National Veterinary Research Institute (PIWET) - Polen
  • FOODREGSCI Europe SAS (GFRS) - Frankreich
  • Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) - Irland
  • BIGH Anderlecht SPRL (BIGH) - Belgien
  • Nestle (Nestle) - Deutschland


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