'Food Quality and Safety' (Priority area 5) aims to assure the health and well-being of European citizens through a better understanding of the influence of food intake and environmental factors on human health. It also aims to provide European consumers with safer, high-quality and health-promoting foods, including seafood. This will be achieved through fully controlled and integrated production systems originating in agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries.
The Sixth Framework Programme for research and technological development is structured in three main blocks of activities. 'Focusing and Integrating Community Research', 'Structuring the European Research Area, and 'Strengthening the foundations of the European Research Area'. The 'Food Quality and Safety' is one of the thematic priorities under 'Focusing and Integrating Community Research'. The priority thematic areas (seven in total) of 'Focusing and Integrating Community Research' represent the main part of expenditure under the sixth framework programme (2002-2006). A highly focused Community research effort and an open coordination with regional, national, European and international frameworks are foreseen to reach the overall objectives of the different priorities.
An end-user driven approach is reflected in the seven specific research priorities and objectives. 'Food quality and safety' re-addresses the classical approach 'from farm to fork'. It aims to ensure that consumer protection is the main driver for developing new and safer food and feed production chains. This is possible in particular thanks to biotechnology tools taking into account the latest results of genomics research.
This end-user driven approach is reflected in the seven specific research objectives. Priority is given to integrated research approaches crossing several specific objectives. Given that small enterprises constitute a major part of the food sector, the success of activities undertaken will rely on the adaptation of knowledge and processes to the specific characteristics of these enterprises.