Conference Declaration “Actions for future Food Chain Integrity”, 10-11 November 2010, Milan

INTEGRATED SYSTEM FOR A RELIABLE TRACEABILITY OF FOOD SUPPLY CHAINS
A European Commission funded Integrated Project within The Sixth Framework Programme

FP6-2005-FOOD-036300

International conference:

“TRACKING THE FUTURE”
10-11 November 2010, Milan, Italy with the support of TRACEBACK

Conference Declaration “Actions for future Food Chain Integrity”

Preamble The Integrated project TRACEBACK is a major EU project providing integrated food chain traceability solutions to food industry. For four years, 27 partners active in food research and the food industry throughout Europe have teamed up with two from Egypt and Turkey, plus relevant SMEs, to develop and demonstrate a new tool based on traceability extended to food safety and quality for connecting food chain players and ensure food chain integrity. On 10-11 November 2010 the international conference “TRACKING THE FUTURE” supported by TRACEBACK, was held in Milan, Italy, in response to the evolving needs of food traceability and food chain integrity to ensure a safe and quality food production. Delegates of TRACEBACK project met with food and traceability experts from multi-disciplinary and multistakeholder realities from over 11 countries for drawing out the future scenarios of food chain integrity that resulted in the present Declaration.

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Conference Declaration “Actions for future Food Chain Integrity”, 10-11 November 2010, Milan

Declaration Having established that: • • Safe, secure, healthy and tasty food is a fundamental right of every human being. Globalisation of food products unfolds new risks for the food chain. Global supply chains and global markets require extended handling and transportation of foodstuffs which increase the hazard of supply chain disruptions and discontinuities. The increased market trend of fresh foods, ready-to-eat and minimally processed foods combined with globally extended and complex food chains contributes to an increased risk of downgrading quality (e.g. freshness, taste, texture) along the supply chain. There is an increasing demand for individualized products according to customer wants, short response time, and dynamic adjustments of supply chain competencies according to new market needs or technological opportunities. Climate change, sustainability concerns, social uncertainty, intentional contaminations and global media coverage represent factors that exacerbate the size, the potential and the effects of food crises, also due to deliberate or inadvertent manipulation. Current legislation enforces companies to track only one step backward and one step forward in the food chain. Existing traceability systems represent the major tool to control and react to food incidents.

A new concept is introduced: “Food Chain Integrity” is the capacity of an entire food chain to perform its expected function without deliberate or unintended malfunction. Food chains with such integrity characterstics will be transparent, sustainable, competitive and certifiable. They will assure safety to the European citizen and will document product quality on the markets. Food Chain Integrity will represent a unique occasion for a European-led certification, provided that new tools will be developed for its deployment in food industry. In order to support the development of Food Chain Integrity the following scientific and technological research actions need to be taken with urgency by the Agrifood Research and Innovation Policy Makers in Europe: 1) Governing the emerging complexity towards food chain integrity Objective: Impressive technological steps have been taken in the last years towards the realisation of infrastructures linking all supply chain players for the best governing: e.g. traceability systems, food safety certifications, e-procurement, e-refurnishing, logistic services, Customer Relation Management services. Time has arrived to merge all these tools into a single supply chain e-platform capable of providing a tool to govern the entire supply chain as a single “cooperative entity” reducing transaction costs and redundancies while boosting safety, efficiency and competitiveness.

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Conference Declaration “Actions for future Food Chain Integrity”, 10-11 November 2010, Milan

2) Assuring the desired food safety and quality along the entire food chain Objective: Currently the food sector is under pressure due to conflicing objectives: consumers and markets express on one side the wish of increased freshness, taste, quality, genuinity and health but on the other side they require reduced processing, no preservatives, absolute safety, extended shelf-life, increased convenience and ingredients from sustainable sources. The solutions to these challenges need to be searched at food chain level. Novel detection technologies deployed in critical spots along the entire food chain would assure the product quality by objectively documenting the values of the final product.

3) Preventing intentional and unintended criticalities in the food chain Objective: Currently, major food chains are international and many of them are really global. This implies extensive handling of food ingredients and products until reaching the final consumer. Food therefore remains exposed for long time and to many players along its pathway towards the final consumer resulting in a higher risk of intentional manipulation. Further, unknown or emerging food pathogens are spreading due to the influence of climate change on the primary production sector. Therefore, new technologies for reducing the hazard and preventing incidents are necessary to protect future food production.

This Conference Declaration was drafted by the Scientific Committee of the Conference and submitted to the Session 2 of the Conference where it was approved on the 10 November 2010.

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