Dr. Walter Mayrhofer from the FTI Burgenland (Research-Technology-Innovation Agency) (http://www.fti-burgenland.at/de/) opened the kick-off event on behalf of MoniQA’s new offices in Neutal, Austria (some 50 minutes’ drive South of Vienna Airport) with an appreciation of MoniQA’s initiatives in supporting the food industry and authorities to guarantee a high degree of food safety and quality, and by bringing new international expertise to Burgenland.
Representing the regional government of Burgenland, the most Eastern state of Austria, Mrs. Verena Dunst, officially welcomed MoniQA Association and emphasized the importance of international networks for Burgenland’s regional research and innovation activities, and a sustainable economic growth of Burgenland’s strong agricultural and food production sectors.
Dr. Roland Poms, Secretary General of MoniQA Association described the tools and vast information source that MoniQA offers and gave a glimpse into future research projects that MoniQA has submitted (together with various international consortia) within the frame of the European Commission’s Horizon2020 Programme.
Several members of MoniQA presented their institution joint activities at the event: Prof. Wolfgang Kneifel from BOKU – the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna https://www.boku.ac.at/en/ explained the joint international educational and training programmes; BSc. Christoph Reiterich from R-Biopharm http://www.r-biopharm.com/ (a biotech company in food diagnostics, Germany) reported on the joint initiative to produce new reference materials for food allergen analysis and the validation of test kits. Finally, Dr. Rita Litauszky from FFG – the Austrian Research Promotion Agency https://www.ffg.at/en appreciated MoniQA’s track of successful research proposals funded by the European Commission.
A short television spot (ORF) and a Press Release of this event (both in German) can be accessed on MoniQA’s homepage www.moniqa.org.
Bari, Italy, 26+27 January 2017
Co-organised by MoniQA Association and CNR-ISPA
MoniQA Association is organizing a two-day-symposium on Food Fraud Prevention and Effective Food Allergen Management targeted toward the food industry/food manufacturers, food production auditors and representatives from the regulatory environment. This workshop will be especially suitable for SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) and fulfilling CPD (Continuous Professional Development) requirements. The workshop will give practical, scientific and legal background information, insight in innovative approaches, newly developed tools and recently introduced analytical methods to combat food fraud and improve food allergen management. These new developments will be linked to real case studies and learnings from recent incidents. Learnings from stakeholder viewpoints, such as food manufacturers, food laboratories, food analytical methods providers, auditors, risk assessors, lawyers, trainers/teachers, media and communicators, regulatory bodies and policy makers shall complement the scientific programme and stimulate open discussion.
The symposium will be co-organised with CNR-ISPA (a MoniQA Founder Member, since 2007) in Bari, Italy, http://www.ispacnr.it/en/bari-territorial-unit/ Renown speakers and representatives from various stakeholder groups will share their experiences with meeting new challenges. The symposium will tackle various burning questions such as:
Food Authenticity and Fraud Prevention:
Food Allergens and Effective Management Tools:
We warmly invite you to attend this meeting, which brings together international experts in the fields of food authenticity and food allergens, as well as various food industries, SMEs, research institutions, associations and regulatory bodies, all having a different stake in food safety. This special mix of scientific and practical input to the symposium will be a valuable opportunity to grow your knowledge base, learn from practical experiences, and exchange ideas with peers.
Escape from the cold Northern winter and join us in Bari in Southern Italy. We hope to see you there!
Dr. Roland Poms
MoniQA, Austria - Secretary General
Dr. Richard Cantrill
AOCS, USA – MoniQA President
Dr. Antonio Logrieco
ISPA-CNR, Italy –Director
Dr. Linda Monaci
ISPA-CNR, Italy – Senior Researcher and Conference Host
For more information, please visit the dedicated symposium website: http://bari2017.moniqa.org
iFAAM, as an EU funded research project (2013-2017) aims at providing various tools and guidelines for an improved allergen and allergy management. In order to understand industry, retail, and supplier attitudes to the use of reference doses to determine risk thresholds for precautionary (allergen) labelling, we would like to assess food industry’s use of, and attitudes to strategies such as the Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL) which contains the "may be present" statement, and possible alternatives. MoniQA would like to invite you to take part in a survey, which is hosted by our partner organization EuroFIR AISBL. Responses in the survey are anonymous. Any information they provide will be treated with strict confidence.
We would be very grateful if you would consider circulating the questionnaire amongst relevant clients and/or partners of yours:
We are hopeful that outcomes of this research will enable those involved in the development of reference doses and precautionary labelling (i.e. manufacturers and food scientists) to identify critical barriers to acceptance by industry, so that these may be addressed, and the most effective methods used to encourage consumer understanding, acceptability and uptake.
MoniQA’s first food allergen QC materials, MoniQA SMP (skim milk powder, MQA 092014) and MoniQA BLANK (gluten-free cookie, MQA 082015) have recently undergone a first testing trial with some 40 laboratories involved worldwide. Most of the anticipated results have been collected and are currently evaluated. In a next step the completed materials of dried skim milk incurred in gluten-free cookies at various concentrations shall become available in summer 2016.
The materials are a result of an initiative that met in 2013 in Washington, MO, USA, which progressed into a MoniQA Task Force on the development of reference materials for food allergen and gluten-free analysis.
The next meeting of MoniQA’s Task Force on Food Allergen Reference Material is scheduled ahead of the IAFP Annual Meeting in St. Louis, MO, USA, and will be hosted again by Trilogy Analytical Laboratories (MoniQA Member since 2012) in Washington, MO, USA, on 31 July 2016. Interested parties are advised to contact moniqa [at] moniqa [dot] org. Roland Poms will also give a presentation on the available food allergen reference materials at the IAFP Annual Conference that follows the Task Force Meeting.
MoniQA is official supporter of the 4th International ISEKI_Food Conference to be held in Vienna, Austria, 6 - 8 July 2016 organised by the ISEKI-Food Association (European Association for Integrating Food Science and Engineering Knowledge Into the Food Chain).
From more than 500 submitted abstracts 88 oral and 255 poster presentations will be delivered.
Poster Awards will begranted, Pre-conference activities (Food Waste Recovery Workshop, a PhD workshop, a free presentation of the FooD-STA centre AUSTRIA and a free training workshop on entrepreneurship) enrich the 4th International ISEKI_Food Conference in Vienna this year!
More than 300 people from all continents have already registered.
We look forward to welcoming you in Vienna in July 2016!
For more details please visit: http://www.isekiconferences.com/vienna2016/
In its aim to develop evidence-based approaches and tools for the management of allergens in food and to integrate knowledge derived from their application into food allergy management plans and dietary advice, the iFAAM project works develops a clinically validated tiered risk assessment approach for food allergens. The resulting holistic strategies will reduce the burden of food allergies in Europe and beyond, whilst enabling the European food industry to compete in the global market place. The iFAAM approach is building on e-Health concepts to allow full exploitation of complex data obtained from the work in this project, maximising sharing and linkage of data.
A second stakeholder consultation was held at the European Commission Joint Research Centre – Institute for Reference Materials and Methods, EC JRC-IRMM (Geel, BE) on 25-26 April 2016. The main objective of this stakeholder workshop was to seek critical feedback on iFAAM risk analysis tools and approaches proposed for managing the risks posed by the presence of unintended allergens in foods. This was achieved by a combination of presentations in plenary, panel discussions and break-out sessions:
MoniQA endorses and contributes to the First Food Chemistry Conference - Shaping the Future of Food Quality, Health and Safety to be held 30 October - 1 November 2016 in the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
This exciting new conference celebrating the 40th anniversary of the leading international journal Food Chemistry will bring together experts and young researchers from academia, research centres, and industry to debate on the latest scientific advances in the field of food chemistry that help to shape current and future challenges in food quality, food safety, and health aspects of the food chain. These challenges are also intimately linked to the wider EU Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges related to health, food security, sustainable agriculture, maritime research and the bioeconomy.
MoniQA participated in three different calls for proposals with deadline February 2016 in the frame of the European Commission’s Horizon2020 Programme. Two of these submissions were evaluated positively by the EC and these two successful consortia were invited to submit a full proposal at stage two with a deadline in September 2016. Interested members of MoniQA Association may still get involved in these proposals as Third Party to MoniQA, if needed expertise can be filled by your organisation. If you are interested to get involved in MoniQA and/or any of the calls for research proposals below, please contact moniqa [at] moniqa [dot] org.
1) SFS-37-2016: The impact of consumer practices in food safety: risks and mitigation strategies, successful through stage 1. MoniQA is Workpackage Leader, a full proposal will be submitted by 13 September 2016.
2) SFS-33-2016: Understanding food value chain and network dynamics, successful through stage 1. MoniQA is Task Leader, a full proposal will be submitted by 13 September 2016.
3) INFRAIA-02-2017: Integrating Activities for Starting Communities, submitted for stage 1 evaluation on 30 March 2016, MoniQA is partner, evaluation for stage 1 shall be completed by September 2016
4) SFS-46-2017: Alternative production system to address anti-microbial drug usage, animal welfare and the impact on health, proposal in preparation, MoniQA is Workpackage Leader, submission is foreseen by 14 February 2017
More details on the calls can be found on the official website of Horizon2020 of the European Commission https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/. MoniQA members may also access the call descriptions to the above titles here. (login required)
Also in 2016 MoniQA facilitates participation in collaborative research projects. In some selected calls MoniQA Association is involved as partner, workpackage leader or task leader. Please note that MoniQA may be able to involve its members as Third Party in various calls only if (according to EC rules) a valid membership pre-exists prior to the final submission of the proposal or the start of the project. If you are interested to get involved in MoniQA and/or any of the calls for research proposals below, please contact moniqa [at] moniqa [dot] org.
1) The impact of consumer practices in food safety: risks and mitigation strategies
2) Understanding food value chain and network dynamics
3) Integrating Activities for Starting Communities
4) Increase overall transparency of processed agri-food products
5) Alternative production system to address anti-microbial drug usage, animal welfare and the impact on health
More details on the calls can be found on the official website of Horizon2020 of the European Commission https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/. MoniQA members may also access the call descriptions to the above titles here. (login required)
The aims of this workshop is to explore the requirements for a health claim on products including the human dietary studies likely to be necessary to generate the evidence required for positive opinion from EFSA.
The programme, speakers and registration can be found at http://bacchus-fp7.eu/best-practice-in-health-claims-bacchus-workshop
The aim of the meeting is to introduce RICHFIELDS to the stakeholder community, and identify the stakeholder’s needs on the scientific case and business case. Speakers will present the background and aims of RICHFIELDS and lead interactive breakout sessions to explore your needs and ideas to understand and better use consumer-generated data. The programme and more information about RICHFIELDS are attached for interest. Delegates can register at http://bit.ly/24x4L7Y
If delegates are unable to complete their travel on the same day as the meeting, RICHFIELDS will provide one night’s accommodation at the Penta or another suitable local hotel.
We take great pleasure in inviting post-graduate students (PhD/MSc) to participate in the 1st Postgraduate Symposium on Food Fraud hosted by Wageningen University and Research Centre in Wageningen, the Netherlands, on June 23-24, 2016. Postgraduates from around the world working on food fraud are welcome to participate, as are those who have completed a doctorate but not yet taken up a post. This exciting event will be an excellent occasion to meet your peers and develop your network as a junior researcher in the area of food authenticity, fraud, and integrity. The conference is free of charge and provides a varied programme for professional development as well as for networking (provisional programme attached). It is open to all postgraduate students across the full spectrum of food quality management, analytical chemistry, physics, criminology, marketing, consumer sciences, and economic sciences.
On 26 February 2016 the recently approved MoniQA Supervisory Board 2016 met in Neutal, Austria, to discuss the short and long term strategies and planned activities within the MoniQA Association. We thank the elected officials for their support and leadership in MoniQA:
Supervisory Board (SB) Members:
Richard Cantrill, USA ((2015-2017, President)
Paul Finglas, UK (2014-2016, Vice President)
Wolfgang Kneifel, Austria (2014-2016)
Marina Carcea, Italy (2015-2017)
Linda Monaci, Italy (2016-2018)
The following members were invited as Coopted Members 2016:
Bert Popping, France
Thomas Gude, Switzerland
Gerhard Schleining, Austria (2015-2016)
Marco Gobbetti, Italy (2015-2016)
Furthermore Roland Poms, Austria, was confirmed as Secretary General 2016-2018.
The SB members present at the SB meeting in Neutal also used the opportunity to visit the new MoniQA Secretariat:
This year the ISEKI-Food Association (IFA) organises the 4th International ISEKI-Food Conference in Vienna, 6-8 July 2016 at the University of Natural Life Sciences (BOKU) (http://www.isekiconferences.com/vienna2016/), where we expect again 200-300 participants.
Abstracts are welcome to following topics:
· Education and Training in the Food sector: trends and developments
· Food Technology: process innovation, novel food functionalities and virtualization in food engineering
· Food Quality and Safety: new developments
· Food by-products: reduction and utilisation
· Nutrition: trends and impact of food technology
· Responsible Research and Innovation: challenges and practices in the food supply chain
For the best contributions several sponsored awards will be available.
A special session “Technologists meet Nutritionists” will be focusing on “Healthgrain”.
Furthermore there will be several pre-conference workshops:
At the end of an eventful and successful year, we would like to thank all our members, friends and collaborators for their support and involvement in 2015. As a global network for food safety monitoring and quality assurance, MoniQA www.moniqa.org - first funded as an EU Network of Excellence and then established as an international association - has been active since 2007. We are happy to see that MoniQA is growing in numbers of involved network partners and collaborators, as well as in strength of impact with a number of new activities and plans for the years to come.
For more details please see MoniQA eNews Alert 2015-12-22
We would like to wish you a blessed Christmas time and a successful start in the New Year! We are looking forward to working with you in 2016!
On behalf of the MoniQA Association
Richard Cantrill (USA), President
Paul Finglas (UK), Vice-President
Roland Poms (Austria), Secretary General
It is time again to renew your MoniQA Association Membership for another year and benefit from MoniQA’s international network and a variety of activities and services. If you are not a member yet, please find below some membership benefits or see an activity report and some highlights from 2014-2015 in a PPT here:
1. Extend your professional scope and standing by joining one of MoniQA’s Task Forces: Food Allergen Reference Materials, Proficiency Testing for Mycotoxins, Emerging Issues
2. Easy access and interaction with a global network of experts
3. Easy access and involvement in international research proposals and projects funded by the EU, UNO, Bill Gates Foundation, governments, etc….
4. Training and education opportunities for teachers and students at universities and companies around the globe
5. Easy access to information and grants for personnel exchanges and mobility of researchers, trainers, teachers and students
6. Better international visibility of your institution
7. Discounts on conference, workshop, webinar participation
8. Qualifying to organise your own MoniQA conference or workshop or webinar at your institute or in your country
9. Use the membership and joint achievements to increase your impact and significance in your own country and internationally, which can be important to join a consortium or qualify for a grant or for a tender
10. Privileged information and pre-publication information on upcoming calls and tenders
11. Technical support and access to rare/expensive infra-structure
Please feel free to join any of MoniQA’s current activities. The invitation is open to all MoniQA Members and to those who are planning to sign-up in the near future.
MoniQA is an international and interdisciplinary network of professionals from institutions working in food research, regulatory bodies and trade, providing solutions to promote a safer and secure food supply worldwide. MoniQA facilitates international research collaborations to enable services and products for food safety & quality assurance. MoniQA contributes to the development and validation of analytical methods, provides training and continuous professional development (CPD), consultancy and socio-economic impact assessment.
1) Preparation and exploring research proposals for EU’s Horizon2020 Funding Programme. Examples of past and current project involvements of MoniQA are MoniQA NoE (FP6), PlantLibra (FP7), Connect4Action (FP7), iFAAM (FP7), and others. Currently MoniQA is facilitating project participation for members in Horizon 2020 calls for 2016.
2) Join MoniQA’s task force on emerging food safety and quality issues: discussion forum and exchange of experience to benefit MoniQA’s research agenda and collaboration agreements, new call texts (e.g. EU projects), workshop/conference themes, joint publications and opinion papers and support to other international organisations such as AOAC, AACCI, Codex, DIN, etc…
3) Join MoniQA’s task force on method validation: Preparation of guidelines and protocols for validation of screening methods, validation of binary methods, validation of mass spectroscopic methods, current focus on mycotoxins, allergens, and authenticity issues. MoniQA contributed in the past to AOAC guidelines and EU directives.
We would like to congratulate the awardees of the 5th MoniQA International Conference 2015! Selected by an international jury (Sean Astley, UK; Richard Cantrill, USA; Paul Finglas, UK; Olaf Nehlich, AT; Karin Zimmermann, NL; and Marija Zunabovic-Pichler, AT) the best abstract, best poster and best research work were premiered at the latest MoniQA Conference in Porto, Portugal, 16-18 September 2015.
The Highest Impact Award was received by Telmo Fernandes from REQUIMTE-LAQV, Portugal, www.requimte.pt/laqv/, on behalf of all co-authors for his work on “Evaluating the performance of a novel single-tube nested real-time PCR on the detection of walnut allergens in cakes as affected by thermal processing”. The Highest Impact Award in the value of € 1,800.- is an Open Access publication of this or a related research work in QAS – Quality Assurance and Safety of Foods & Crops. This award was sponsored by the publisher of QAS, Wageningen Academic Publishing, the Netherlands, www.wageningenacademic.com.
The Best Poster Award was received by Ricardo Assuncao from INSA - Instituto Nacional de Saúde Dr. Ricardo Jorge, Portugal, www.insa.pt, on behalf of all co-authors for his work on “Risk assessment of Portuguese children dietary exposure to co-occurring mycotoxins in processed cereal-based foods”. This award was sponsored by R-Biopharm www.r-biopharm.com (MoniQA Member since 2012) with a 300.- € cash award.
The conference programme of the the 5th MoniQA International Conference "Food and Health - Risks and Benefits" will become available soon. Poster abstracts will still be accepted until 15 July 2015.
We are proud to introduce some of the keynote speakers:
Conference website: porto2015.moniqa.org
Registration: porto2015.moniqa.org/register. Early Bird Registration ends on 15 July 2015 (received fee)!
Abstract submission for posters: porto2015.moniqa.org/abstract_submission ends on 15 July 2015!
Make your hotel room reservation now at porto2015.moniqa.org/accommodation
Become an official sponsor: porto2015.moniqa.org/sponsoring
MoniQA proudly presents its newest membership category: Micro-companies can enjoy the full suite of benefits of a regular membership in MoniQA at half price. Starting in 2015 legal persons/consultants/one-man companies and small companies (SMEs) with less than 6 employees and a turn over less than 400,000.- € per year may qualify for a 50 % discounted membership fee in MoniQA. For 500.- € per year micro-companies can enjoy immediate benefits within MoniQA's Global Food Safety and Quality Network including the services listed below.
Additionally, micro-companies may enjoy a new offer (coming soon!) to sign up for a joint membership in MoniQA www.moniqa.org and EuroFIR www.eurofir.org for a further discounted price. For only 800.- € per year micro-companies will get high value services offered by both associations at a low price and covering food data and information underpinning nutrition and public health aspects.
Sign up for Membership in MoniQA or jointly in MoniQA/EuroFir today and start benefiting from the associations' international network and a variety of activities and services (details can be found on www.moniqa.org/about/association and www.eurofir.org/?page_id=255).
Some membership benefits are listed as follows:
After 6 consultations MoniQA's international task force on Food Allergen Reference Materials will meet again in Porto, Portugal, in the morning of 16 September 2015 ahead of the 5th MoniQA International Conference. Registration for this meeting is required by sending an email to conference [at] moniqa [dot] org; it is free for MoniQA Members and the initial task force members.
Current status: After extensive characterization the first materials (milk, a blank matrix material "rice cookie") are about to being tested and validated by the international community. For the gluten-free materials some 35 wheat varieties/flours have been extensively characterized and are now ready for final selection. Additional materials such as whole egg, peanut, hazelnut, and soy are in preparation and associated characterization work is under way. An update will be given at the upcoming meeting in Porto and the next steps will be discussed.
Background: In 2013 MoniQA initiated a Task Force on the development of food allergen and gluten-free reference materials. The Task Force is an international group comprised of several SDOs (Standardisation Organisations), industry representatives, policy makers, test kit providers and method developers, analytical companies, as well as representatives from various universities. This international group works towards consensus on the specific requirements and the design of global food allergen reference/testing materials and gluten-free standard materials. For this purpose MoniQA has liaised with the EU funded project iFAAM, the Prolamin Working Group (PWG) and Australia's Vital concept group.
The aim of MoniQA's initiative is the publication of a Guidance Document on the special requirements and production of food allergen and gluten-free reference materials. Accompanying research and the optimization of the production scheme to provide basic and incurred reference materials, spiked samples and extracts have been initiated.
iFAAM (Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen and Allergy Risk Management; 2013-2017) is the world's biggest ever study of allergies - coordinated by Clare Mills from the University of Manchester www.inflammation-repair.manchester.ac.uk/ifaam. iFAAM involves the world’s leading experts in the UK, Europe, Australia and US. iFAAM, funded under EU's 7th Framework Programme, will develop evidence-based approaches and tools for MANAGEMENT of ALLERGENS in FOOD and integrate knowledge derived from their application and new knowledge from intervention studies into FOOD ALLERGY MANAGEMENT plans and dietary advice. The resulting holistic strategies will reduce the burden of food allergies in Europe and beyond, whilst enabling the European food industry to compete in the global market place.
The MoniQA Association is partner in iFAAM. MoniQA leads Workpackage 9 on translating iFAAM developed tools and food allergen management approaches to practice. Current activities involve the development of a database on food allergen recalls, which will be published shortly. Furthermore, MoniQA leads work within iFAAM to make "May Contain" labeling more transparent and to provide a sustainable online toolbox for allergen management along the food supply chain.
MoniQA would like to welcome the association's newly elected officials. Details on all elected officials can be found at www.moniqa.org/about/officials. The Supervisory Board Members are elected by the General Assembly for a term of three years. In 2015 Richard Cantrill from AOCS (USA) will serve as MoniQA President and Paul Finglas from IFR/EuroFir (UK) as Vice President. The composition of the current MoniQA Supervisory Board is:
Co-opted members to support the Supervisory Board in extending membership and promoting MoniQA activities in 2015 are:
Elected auditors of the association are:
MoniQA and its newly elected officials are looking forward to working with you and assisting you in matters of food safety and quality assessment, research project proposals, workshop and conference organisation, design and production of reference materials, and other international network activities.
The issue contains 8 review articles, 2 research articles, as well as a foreword by Michele Suman and Roland Poms, the guest editors of this special edition. The articles contain a clear overview of the latest developments, products, and concerns on use of these fast and easy detection methods. Two of the papers are available as open access: the foreword and the review paper by C. von Holst and J. Stroka on “Performance criteria for rapid screening methods to detect mycotoxins”. If your institute has taken a subscription, all papers are freely accessible on the World Mycotoxin Journal MetaPress web page wageningenacademic.metapress.com/content/120817. As MoniQA or ICC member you are eligible for a discounted subscription.
The QAS volume 6, issue 3 (September 2014) is now available and features a special issue on "Food Chemistry and Safety". Edited by Hamit Köksel and Vural Gökmen, both from Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, the presented research papers were selected from invited presentations in association with the EuroFoodChem XVII conference, which took place 7-10 May 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. The included papers encompass the latest research trends and findings on the emerging topics of food chemistry and safety. The 10 papers included in this special issue were selected from the papers recommended through an external peer-review process.
The papers in this special issue describe the recent advancements on analytical methodologies for the determination of nanomaterials in complex samples, safety assessment of engineered metallic nanoparticles in foods, performance of multiplex dipstick immunoassay for screening mycotoxins in cereals, analytical challenges in food chemistry proficiency tests, application of e-nose technique for food quality control using novel oligopeptides based materials, and evaluation of safety risks in thermal processing of foods considering processing contaminants such as acrylamide. In addition, some papers describe also the production and characterization of resistant starch and its utilization as food ingredient, thermolysis products of potato starch as potential prebiotics, and anovel cereal fiber drink as a tool for prevention of civilisation disease.
We are pleased to present this special issue to the readers of Quality Assurance and Safety of Crops & Foods journal and food chemistry community worldwide, and hope that it accomplishes our goal of highlighting outstanding recent advances in the field of food chemistry. At the same time we can be looking forward to the next EuroFoodChem XVIII conference in Madrid, Spain, 13-16 October 2015.
Vienna, 12 May 2014. An EU-funded research project is shining a spotlight on the benefits, risks and quality of botanicals. Some 30 international research groups worked in a multi-disciplinary consortium to investigate whether botanicals available as drops, capsules, lozenges, tablets and pills, for example, truly deliver on what they promise. The PlantLIBRA research project started in 2010 and ends in May this year. Some 110 experts from over 30 countries participate in the wrap-up event in Vienna, 12-14 May 2014 (plantlibra2014.icc.or.at). The event is managed by ICC, which is also a consortium partner in this EU funded project (www.icc.or.at/projects/plantlibra).
The 25 nations involved in the "PlantLIBRA" research project all pursued the same goal: to record the benefits and risks of botanicals and test the quality of the products available on the market. The experts involved also compiled a database that will make it easier for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other national authorities to assess botanicals.
Testing potency and toxicity
Botanicals, available as capsules, lozenges, tablets, pills and other similar dosage forms, are legally defined as foodstuffs and therefore subject to less stringent regulations than pharmaceuticals. Whether they offer any benefits, or may even pose risks, to consumers is the subject of the EU project that investigated a range of selected samples. "Whether a product actually contains the plant advertised on the package has not been tested in many cases. And it often takes a liability suit before we find out whether the active ingredients in a botanical product are effective or perhaps even poisonous" reports work package leader and Professor Emeritus at the Vetmeduni Vienna, Chlodwig Franz. The goal of this EU project was to shed light on this grey area. Various methods were developed and tested to anaylse the quality and safety of botanicals that are used in food supplements, including DNA analysis techniques that allow the exact identification of the plants used.
European products exceeded expectations
The researchers examined different products from all over Europe that contained passion flower, devil's claw, melissa, chamomile, valerian, calendula and ribwort. According to researcher Silvia Sponza: "All the European products we examined, including teas, pills, drops, powders and ointments, did in fact contain what was listed on the packaging. And the quality of the active ingredients was even on par with the quality standards that apply to pharmaceuticals."
The scientists also drew up a list of analytical laboratories in Europe, an important resource for the industry. This will make it much easier for botanicals manufacturers to select a competent lab to run analyses on their products.
Interviews with experts
The PlantLIBRA final conference is held in Vienna from 12-14 May 2014. Study research partners and representatives from the industry are in attendance. Various experts, including the Coordinator, Professor Patrizia Restani from the University of Milan (Italy), are available during the event at the Hotel Stefanie (Taborstraße 12, 1020 Vienna) for interviews. Please view the full programme at plantlibra2014.icc.or.at/programme and please feel free to contact us for an appointment at office [at] icc [dot] or [dot] at.
Over 70 participants attended the annual Joint MoniQA/IAM Workshop for Codex Alimentarius which was held 2 March 2014 in Budapest, Hungary. Chaired by Richard Cantrill, AOCS and Roland Poms, ICC, this year's event focused on "Sampling issues in the light of new approaches and existing Codex Standards". The featured presentations from Roger Wood, Chairman of the Inter-Agency Meeting; Árpád Ambrus, Hungarian Food Safety Office; Steve Ellison, LGC; Astrid Nordbotten, Norwegian Food Safety Authority and Roger Kissling, Fonterra Ltd. were made available to MoniQA members and participants. MoniQA is now collecting ideas and needs for the next Joint IAM/MoniQA Workshop linked to the Codex Alimentarius CCMAS meeting in Budapest in 2015, please send your comments and ideas to moniqa [at] moniqa [dot] org. To join MoniQA, please go to www.moniqa.org.
More than 600 people from 48 different countries attended the Horizon 2020 info day calls for proposals for Societal Challenge 2 (SC2) and LEIT- Biotechnology. This major event took place in Brussels, on 17 January 2014, at the Charlemagne building and was organised by the European Commission's Directorate General for Research and Innovation through Directorate F – Bioeconomy. You can access the presentations given on the day at ec.europa.eu/research/bioeconomy/news-events/news/20140117_03_en.htm, which will be updated regularly.
Roland Poms, Secretary General of ICC and MoniQA, attended the Info Day in Brussels on behalf of members of ICC and MoniQA. Several specific questions communicated by members in advance of the meeting to the Secretariat of ICC and MoniQA could be addressed in the afternoon discussions with the EC officials. Members only can see some more detailed information and possibilities of joint collaborative projects in the protected members area at www.icc.or.at for ICC and www.moniqa.org for MoniQA (for members visible after log in). ICC and MoniQA will continue to disseminate up-to-date information on new developments within Horizon 2020 and will facilitate project participation for its members.
It is time again to renew your MoniQA Association Membership for another year and benefit from MoniQA's international network and a variety of activities and services (details can be found on www.moniqa.org/about/association).
Some membership benefits are listed as follows: