€10m for blockchain-based food fraud project

An EU-China partnership has scored €10m in funding to improve food safety and fight fraud in one of the world's largest food safety initiatives.

The EU-China Safe project, tapping into funds from the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, involves more than 30 partners from the food industry, research organisations and governments, including 15 partners from the EU and 18 from China.

The project aims to reduce food fraud and improve food safety by focusing on improving food legislation, food inspection and increasing access to information across both continents. The project will also look at ways to predict and prevent future food fraud.

Food products including infant formula, processed meat, fruit, vegetables, honey, spices and wine will be a focus for their vulnerability to chemical contamination and fraud.

"The EU-China Safe partnerships between two trading regions is of immense importance to help deliver safe and genuine food to all citizens," said Professor Yongning Wu, chief scientist from the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment and co-ordinator of Chinese efforts within the project.

"Working together across China and the EU will enable us to identify where food fraud is happening, address the root causes and thereby enable us to improve food safety standards for all our citizens."

The Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, is leading the project, which will start in September and continue until August 2021.

"There is a pressing need to act internationally in response to emerging threats to food safety and fraud," said Professor Chris Elliot, pro-vice chancellor at Queen's University and project co-ordinator.

"This project will tackle these highly connected issues in a way that will serve to better protect several billion people. Working as a coalition of 33 partners to share knowledge and maximise technologies will empower the food industry to provide safe, authentic food and will boost consumers' confidence and facilitate the expansion of EU-China trade."

Virtual labs and technology will be at the centre of the project with a focus on the detection of adulteration and supply chain traceability.

Belfast blockchain company Arc-net has been appointed as a technology partner, which will see the firm's blockchain platform used in the project. The firm believes that technology such as blockchain – a database of time-stamped records – will improve the transparency of supply chains to crack down on food fraud.

Food fraud is increasing globally and is worth an estimated €46 billion globally per year. The illicit trade has garnered more public attention following large scandals such as the UK's horsemeat scandal in 2013 when products were labelled as containing beef but in fact contained horsemeat, while in China in 2014, cooking oil was found to contain slaughterhouse waste and sewage.

Currently Brazil is at the centre of a massive scandal where rotten meat was mixed with fresh meat and sold, including some exported to the EU. The scandal was allegedly able to happen as a result of authorities being bribed.

Some of the organisations included in the EU-China Safe project include: the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, University College Dublin, Joint Research Centre – European Commission, Advanced Research Cryptography Ltd, Fera Science Limited, Cranswick Country Foods, Nestec, China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment, Chinese Academy of Inspection & Quarantine, Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, China Meat Research Center, China Agricultural University, Danone Asia-Pacific, and Nestle R&D China.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top