EU-Funded Food Research Results Showcased at European Parliament

08 Jul 2010 --- One project, ISAFRUIT, has found that eating two apples (300gr) a day can help reduce cholesterol by 10% and that dipping apples and peaches in hot water at precise temperatures can reduce brown rot by 80% and remove e-coli and salmonella bacteria.

8 Jul 2010 --- Eight EU-funded research projects on food quality and safety will be presented on 8 July at a conference at the European Parliament. This is part of Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn's overall initiative to communicate better on the practical benefits EU research is bringing to the EU's Europe 2020 strategy in terms of improved quality of life and as a key driver of economic growth and high quality jobs. For example, one project, ISAFRUIT, has found that eating two apples (300gr) a day can help reduce cholesterol by 10% and that dipping apples and peaches in hot water at precise temperatures can reduce brown rot by 80% and remove e-coli and salmonella bacteria. The other projects to be presented cover: tackling epizootic animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease; how diet and hereditary factors can influence the risk of cancer; setting up a Europe-wide food and nutrition information web-based service; alternative fish feeds for healthier and greener seafood; improving the freshness of industrially pre-baked bread; cereals as a weapon against metabolic disorders; and a sustainable network integrating international food research institutions. There will be a press point at the EP at 13h30.

Launched in 2002 under the Sixth Research Framework Programme, the "Food Safety and Quality" programme aimed to tackle the serious food chain problems which have arisen during the previous decade such as contamination of the food chain, dietary related diseases and a desire for more nutritious foods. This multi-annual research programme funded 181 world class projects across eight identifiable areas from food nutrition, safety, and traceability, to sustainable production and processing systems. Characterised by clear objectives to deliver innovative solutions and with the priority to answer consumers' concerns, these projects received 751 Million € of EU funds, and engaged the manpower of 3500 European and International scientists.

Between 2007 and 2013, the EU is providing over € 1.9 billion in funding for 'Food, Agriculture & Fisheries and Biotechnology" research under the Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7). The main objective is to build a European Knowledge Based Bio-Economy (KBBE). In order to achieve it the focus is on realizing a sustainable production and a prudent use of natural resources fulfilling at the same time the consumers demand and needs. Currently, under the FP7, 258 projects have been financed for 831.399.247 Million € of EU funds.

The projects being presented
ISAFRUIT (Increasing fruit consumption and delivering high quality products)
Two apples a day keep the doctor away
ISAFRUIT looks at ways to increase fruit consumption in the EU by performing consumer driven research into the health benefits of fruit, and their sustainable production all along the food chain from the farm to the plate. One of the major findings of ISAFRUIT is initial nutritional studies which show that two apples (300gr) a day can help reduce cholesterol by 10%. The project also developed new protocols and methodologies for more efficient breeding of new fruit varieties, ways to reduce allergic components in fruits, and new sustainable and safer technologies to fight against fruit pests and diseases through the diminished or non-use of pesticides. In this context, it has demonstrated that dipping peaches for 20 second in hot water at 60 degrees can reduce brown rots by 80%. For apples the treatment is 40 seconds at 50-52 degrees. The treatment shows its efficiency for removing rot agents, human pathogens such as Escherichia coli, salmonella and listeria and allowing energy saving by heating water with hot gas from cooling plants. Finally, ISAFRUIT's researches focused also on the development of new dried fruits appealing products to increase fruit consumption among young people.
EU funding: € 13.8 million
Project co-ordinator: Ole CALLESEN (DK)

EPIZONE (Network of Excellence for Epizootic Disease Diagnosis and Control)
A unique European-led network of researchers in support of the prevention and control of epizootic diseases
Outbreaks of epizootic diseases can result in enormous economic losses along the whole animal production chain, causing food safety issues and public health concerns. Control methods involving the mass culling of livestock are no longer acceptable for the society. The EPIZONE project established a unique international network of recognised animal health scientists for sharing knowledge and expertise on epizootic animal diseases such as avian influenza, foot and mouth disease, swine fever etc. Improved knowledge on epizootic disease diagnosis, epidemiology, risks and intervention strategies, generated by EPIZONE has contributed to the prevention and control of epizootic animal diseases and will help combat future epizootic animal diseases more efficiently and more cost-effectively on a global level.
EU funding: € 14 million
Project co-ordinator: Piet VAN RIJN (NL)

ECNIS (Environmental Cancer Risk, Nutrition and Individual Susceptibility)
Dietary impacts on cancer risk
Bringing together experts from a wide range of scientific disciplines, the ECNIS Network of Excellence has studied how diet and hereditary factors can influence the risk of cancer from environmental factors. It has developed specific bio-markers and bio-indicators in epidemiological studies on the modulation of cancer risk by diet and the influence of genetic variation on cellular, tissue and organism susceptibility to carcinogens. These ongoing studies will provide support for the development of functional foods that protect against DNA damage and cancer.
EU funding: € 11 million
Project co-ordinator: Konrad Rydzynski (PL)
More information:

EUROFIR (European Food Information Resource)
New tools to understand the links between diet and health, well being and ageing
The European Food Information Resource network EUROFIR has brought together more than 200 researchers from 21 countries to set up a scientifically sound basis for a comprehensive source of information on the content of nutrients, bioactive compounds and other components in food. The web-based service has been set up for researchers, public health authorities, the food industry and consumers. It is a tool needed for all aspects of food and nutrition-related work. It also is an evidence base for the food industry to become a knowledge based and more competitive industry producing healthier food.
EU funding: € 12 million
Project co-ordinator: Paul Finglas (UK)

AQUAMAX (Sustainable Aquafeeds to Maximise the Health Benefits of Farmed Fish for Consumers)
Alternative fishfeeds for safer seafood, healthy consumers and a greener planet
The AquaMax project has implemented an integrated approach covering the whole chain, going from fish feeds, to fish nutrition, final product safety and human health. It studied ways to replace as much as possible of the fish meal and fish oil currently used in fish feeds with sustainable, alternative feed resources that are as free of undesirable contaminants as possible.  The project has looked in particular the effect of farmed oily fish in the diets of pregnant women and their babies, by focussing on predictors of atopic disease and on the development of immune competence and atopic disease in early infancy. The studies are still very preliminary but first results have shown the potential positive health benefits of oily fish diets in pregnant women.
EU funding: € 10.5 million
Project co-ordinator: Oyvind Lie (NO)

EUFRESHBAKE (Freshly baked breads with improvement of nutritional quality and low energy demanding for the benefit of the consumer and of the environment)
Fresher bread on the shops with energy savings
Europeans consume over 30 million tonnes of bread every year. In the industrialised bread production sector today almost 50% of the bread is prebaked at industrial scale and then delivered to small local outlets where the baking process is completed. The EUFRESHBAKE project has developed an innovative low energy oven for industrial bread baking, which is based on infrared technology and uses 30% less energy than a traditional electric stove. In addition, this project has developed alternative ways that allow the baking of bread with enhanced nutritional value and gluten free bread. Industry can produce economically and environmentally friendlier (less waste), while the consumer will benefit from fresh and healthy bread prepared from prebaked frozen products at any time of the day.
EU funding: € 2 million
Project co-ordinator: Alain Le Bail (FR)

HEALTHGRAIN (Exploiting Bioactivity of European Cereal Grains for Improved Nutrition and Health Benefits)
Cereals as a weapon against metabolic disorders
The HEALTHGRAIN Project investigated the role of wholegrain and/or high fibre cereal diets in reducing the risk of chronic disease linked with obesity and metabolic syndrome (type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease). After establishing a definition of wholegrain, it has developed methods to detect bioactive compounds, tools to increase their intake in whole grains and novel technologies to create new healthy ingredients, and has demonstrated that health benefits of wheat can be improved through plant breeding. This 5 years project has also focused on the development of new and improved gluten free foods, which will be welcomed by those suffering from Coeliac disease (intolerance to cereal gluten protein).
EU funding: € 10.8 million
Project co-ordinator: Kaisa Poutanen (FI)

MONIQA (Monitoring and Quality Assurance in the Food Supply Chain)
A common approach to food integrity?
By establishing a sustainable network integrating international research institutions, the MONIQA project has succeeded in developing new standards in food quality and safety, and world wide protocols for production systems and for use throughout the food chain, which will provide further assurance to the final consumers of the integrity of the products on supermarket shelves. Bringing together 33 international organisations, MONIQA is contributing to better future regulations for food safety in the EU and helping food manufacturers, retail outlets and regulatory bodies to cope with the challenges posed by a globalised food economy.
EU funding: € 12.3 million
Project co-ordinator: Roland Ernest Poms (AT)

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