A new global infrastructure for promoting metrology in food and nutrition [METROFOOD]

Last updated on 13-9-2019 by Lieke Vervoort
April 1, 2018
January 4, 2024

Financial Source

Service(s) working on this project

Sciensano's project investigator(s):


Marc Heyndrickx (ILVO)
Miruna Dobre, FPS Economy, Metrology, National Standards

In short

Food quality, authenticity, nutrient profile and health benefits are a focus of consumer’s requirements worldwide. Food traceability and safety are key factors to ensure food quality and to protect consumers’ interests. However, despite all efforts within the EU there is still a significant fragmentation with regard to food analysis and research worldwide. To increase efficiency in food quality and food safety research and to help identify crucial knowledge gaps, a new “Research Infrastructure (RI) for promoting Metrology in Food and Nutrition”METROFOOD-RI – has been established.

Project summary

Sciensano’s ‘Chemical and Physical Health Risks’ department is the Belgian representative of a new distributed research infrastructure within the “Health and Food” domain (ESFRI Roadmap 2018 – Domain Health and Food). Our mission is to enhance:

  • quality and reliability of measurement results and share data, information and metrological tools,
  • scientific excellence in the field of food quality and safety
  • the promotion of scientific cooperation and integration throughout the food chain.

This network currently involves 48 partners from 18 European countries and is still expanding.

Our goals

The main goal of this concerted effort is to harmonise and coordinate high quality metrology services in food and nutrition. Developing standardised procedures and providing suitable reference materials (RM) to ensure full traceability, will help to achieve this goal. The distributed infrastructure will provide scientific services and grant access to a shared database, through a network of interlinked providers and users. The services may include:

  • the development and validation of methods for food or environmental analyses,
  • the provision of Proficiency Testing schemes and RM,
  • pilot plants for food production, packaging, storage and distribution,
  • experimental field/farm sites,
  • etc.

In food analysis RMs play an essential role. Considering the emerging challenges for food safety (nanotechnology applications, food adulterations, etc.), there is an urgent need for new multiparameter RMs in various food matrices.


The network aims at serving a wide range of users starting from researchers and technicians working in universities and research institutes, public and private analytical laboratories, up to industrial users, policy makers, food inspection and control agencies, consumer organisations and citizens.

National nodes

The project is coordinated by the Italian Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA). In each country METROFOOD-RI is organised in national nodes. The Belgian node (METROFOOD-BE) is represented by Sciensano and is still expanding. At present, the other national partners are the National Metrological Institute (FSP Economy, Metrology, National Standards) and the Food Pilot of the Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) but the consortium is open for other interested partners.

Want to know more?

ESFRI website

WHO (2015). European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2030. World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe, Geneva





Associated Health Topics

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