Sciensano’s ‘Chemical and Physical Health Risks’ department is one of the main partners of the EU-funded ESFRI project METROFOOD to establish a new European Research Infrastructure (RI) aiming to increase efficiency in food quality and safety research by providing and coordinating high level metrological services on a European scale.
Enhancing quality and reliability of measurements in food and nutrition
Food traceability and safety are key factors to ensure food quality and to protect consumers’ interests. High profile metrological services consisting of accurate analytical techniques and advanced equipment as well as innovative research facilities are essential to guarantee measurement reliability (= metrology) throughout the food chain. Such services are presently scattered over a wide range of institutions and universities in Europe, which complicates the efficient transnational use of expert knowledge and (often costly) resources. METROFOOD-RI will help to streamline the availability and access to these facilities.
Increasing the availability of metrological tools and promoting scientific cooperation
METROFOOD-RI has the ambition to broaden the scientific excellence in the field of food quality and safety on a European and global level by:
- coordinating an array of transnational services provided by expert institutions,
- promoting standardisation and harmonisation of measurements,
- facilitating the integration and sharing of expert knowledge and data regarding food and nutrition.
ESFRI — European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures
This new Research Infrastructure, with partners from 18 European Countries, has recently been accepted for the ESFRI Roadmap 2018 and started its Preparatory Phase (METROFOOD-PP) on 1 December 2019. ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, is a strategic instrument to develop the scientific integration of Europe and to strengthen its international outreach. ESFRI’s mission is to facilitate multilateral initiatives leading to the better use and development of research infrastructures, at EU and international level.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871083.
Sciensano’s role and services
The scientists from Sciensano’s ‘Chemical and Physical Health Risks’ department are responsible for the development of a service chart including the definition of the physical and electronic services that will be made available through METROFOOD-RI, their organisation and how these services will be provided to internal and external users such as researchers, policy makers, food business operators, food inspection agencies & control, consumers etc. The practical implementation of such a centralised service provision will be tested through several use cases such as e.g. the remote access and operation of the Transmission Electron Microscope for the characterization of nanoparticles in food in our service ‘Trace elements and nanomaterials’.