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Food safety for infants – Getting it right

Written by Creme Global
08/12/2020

Aside from breast milk that is recommended as the gold standard at WHO level, infant formulas and baby foods are taking up a big part of diets in infants. As these products are widely used to support infant nutrition, there is as you would expect, keen focus from parents and public authorities on producers to optimise nutritional quality and safety of their products. Identifying, assessing, detecting and finally mitigating microbial and chemical hazards in the infant food chain is the focus of the EU funded SAFFI project.

Project Aims

SAFFI (SAfe Food For Infants in the EU and China) targets food for EU’s 15 million and China’s 45 million children under the age of three. Project aims at developing an integrated approach to enhance the identification, assessment, detection and mitigation of safety risks raised by microbial and chemical hazards all along EU and China infant food chains. Main safety risks will be benchmarked through an extensive hazard identification system based on multiple data sources and a risk ranking procedure. This will be supported by development of procedures to enhance top-down and bottom-up hazard control by combining management options with a panel of technologies for the detection and mitigation of priority hazards. Aim is also to pre-emptively discover unexpected contaminants through use of predictive toxicology and improved risk-based food safety management of biohazards by omics and predictive microbiology.

Data Driven Decision Support System

As part of the project Creme Global will co-develop and deliver to stakeholders a decision-support system (DSS) tool. This tool will significantly enhance safety control all along the food chain by integrating the databases, procedures and methods and will be a framework for a generic DSS dedicated to other foods. Through various stages of the DSS design, from early data discovery to data gathering, validation and finally model and tool design – SAFFI project DSS tool will be built in close collaboration with experts across various work packages, in both EU and China.

Designed for both EU and China

Overall project methodology will be implemented in two complementary European and Chinese mirror projects and exemplified for each, with four case studies that were selected to cover priority hazards, main ingredients, processes and control steps of the infant food chain. Resulting databases, tools and procedures will be shared, cross-validated, concatenated, benchmarked and finally harmonized for further use in the EU and China. SAFFI will also set up training and knowledge transfer activities to foster EU-China harmonization of good practices, regulations, standards and technologies, and will cluster with other projects under the EU-China FAB Flagship initiative for continuous upgrade of food safety control. This EU-China multi-actor consortium of 20 partners involves academia, food safety authorities, infant food companies, paediatrics and technological and data-science SMEs. Focusing on the EU and China, the project will also set up training and knowledge transfer activities to foster harmonisation of good practices.

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