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CASCADE - Chemicals as Contaminants in the Food Chain: An NOE for Research, Risk Assessment and Education


To address the issue of too little coordination of the European research and a lack of integration results, 18 Universities and SMEs have decided to form a European wide Network of Excellence (NoE) under the leadership of the Karolinska Institutet. We will harmonize the whole chain of events from sampling procedures, to risk assessment and legislative measures.

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The harmful effects of dietary chemical contaminants represent a major health problem in every society. However since there is insufficient information it has proved difficult to assess the health risks they constitute for humans, especially women, newborn children, and other susceptible populations. Nuclear receptors regulate critical cellular processes such as cell growth and differentiation, metabolic processes and other. Endocrine disrupting agents, acting through nuclear receptors, are thus involved in many different pathological situations such as tumour development, metabolic disease and obesity, coronary heart problems etc. Europe has recognized this threat and extensive research efforts have been undertaken to identify the problems caused by food borne contaminants. However, the full European potential in this area of research has not been utilised because European research is fragmented. There is little coordination of the European research and this lack of integration results in a suboptimal European research atmosphere.


The participation of multiple research areas will facilitate greater efficiency of data production, information flow and communication of knowledge in key areas such as sampling methods, identification and analysis of chemical residues and identification of relevant marker proteins. End results will include training programmes and provision of rationalised information for assessing the risk that these compounds pose to human health. Channelling information to the general public will be emphasised so that the scientific information will be used by consumers and for implementation of legislative measures.


For more information about this project, please visit the <a href="…; target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> Web site.

Gustafsson, Jan-Ake
Karolinska Institutet
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