Atomic energy formalises links with QUB on food integrity

The Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast has been selected as a formal research partner of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for its work on feed and food safety, authenticity and traceability.

The IGFS has been working with the United Nations agency for several years, but being designated as a “collaborating centre” means that the collaboration will “grow in scale and importance,” according to a QUB statement.

Two years ago, the IAEA launched a five-year research project that aims to refine methods to apply nuclear technologies such as stable isotope analysis to the fight against food fraud.

The agency, working with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), also has projects looking at hand-held devices to test food authenticity as well as guidelines for analyses and the establishment of a comprehensive database of authentic reference samples.

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The application of nuclear and nuclear-related analytical techniques to detect the contamination and adulteration of feeds and foods as well as training scientists across the world in these methods will be key elements to the IGFS collaboration.

“The synergies in the expertise, knowledge, skills and experience of the two institutions will allow a multiplication of the impact of the nuclear technologies,” said IAEA deputy director general Najat Mokhtar.

“We look forward to increasing our fruitful co-operation with IGFS in helping address some of the serious challenges to food safety and security that our member states face, today and in the future,” she added.

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