The Food & Drink Industry (F&DI) is the largest manufacturing sector in the EU, counting 35,000 enterprises (98% of which are SMEs), with a turnover of about 650 billion, 90% of which is produced by SMEs. As SMEs play a critical role in food safety and nutritional issues, the present project intends to reach at least 20% (7,000) of the most representative of them, either for branch or for geographical area.
The present project aims at establishing the foot-roots of a European permanent network linking SMEs upwards with research institutions and downwards with consumers and nutritionists.
SMEs are ideally placed to link consumers, industry and science to provide consumers with better and healthier food through a more "demand driven" scientific research on food safety innovation, nutritional value and raw materials and technology. On the other hand, the current links between the above mentioned "Food Quality & Safety Stakeholders - FQSS" are weak and only part of the research efforts ends up in consumers' dishes. The 10 F&DI Feds of the EEIG "Spes GEIE" have assessed the need to strengthen the links between their members and the other FQSS. <P>
The project is also a pilot action to lay the basis for the prospective participation of SMEs to future Community RTD activities, by establishing sectoral Working Groups (WGs) composed by representatives of the industry and of all FQSS. The WGs will assess and study, through a commonly developed methodology, the local industry RTD needs. Results emerged in each individual assessment will be discussed during a series of regional meetings organised in three selected locations. During these meetings the most stringent topics on food safety, technology, and nutritional issues and consumers expectations will be identified. The Scientific Committee of SPES will collect the meeting/workshop proceedings and will prepare material to be widely disseminated throughout the participants' networks and at EU level. Project duration is 14 months.
For more information about this project, please visit the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/food_quality/projects/066_en.ht…; target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> Web site.