The project – known as EU-China-Safe – will boost food safety and cut food fraud by improving legislation and food inspections in both areas, according to the university.
A virtual laboratory will be built to demonstrate best practice for completing inspections. Latest technology will be used to increase traceability across the food chain, it added.
EU-China-Safe will also support agri-food trade between the EU and China, the university said. The project was due to begin from September 2017, until August 2021.
Project co-ordinator, Chris Elliott said: “This project will tackle highly connected issues [including traceability and food safety] in a way that will serve to better protect several billion people. There is a pressing need to act internationally in response to emerging threats to food safety and fraud.
“Working together as a coalition of 33 partners to share knowledge and maximise our technologies will empower the food industry to provide safer, authentic food and will boost consumers’ confidence and ultimately facilitate the expansion of EU-China trade,” said Elliott, who is also Queen’s University Belfast pro-vice chancellor.
Food fraud was on the rise globally, and cost the sector about £41bn ($52bn) each year, the university said. It demanded a global response, as the increasingly complex food supply network increased the risk of serious food-borne illnesses.
Serious food-borne illnesses
China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment chief scientist Yongning Wu said: “The EU-China-Safe partnership between our two trading regions is of immense importance to help deliver safe and genuine food to all citizens.
“Working together across China and the EU will enable us to identify where food fraud is happening, address the root causes and thereby enable us to improve food safety standards for all our citizens.”
Funding for the project came from The European Horizon 2020 programme and Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). EU-China-Safe will involve 33 organisations from the food industry, governments and research firms.
Meanwhile, last month it was revealed that food fraud costs the UK food and drink sector up to £12bn a year.
- Queen’s University Belfast
- Ysoka Skola Chemicko-Cechnologicka V Praze
- Bundesinstitut Fuer Risikobewertung
- Agriculture And Food Development Authority
- University College Dublin
- Wageningen University
- Joint Research Centre – European Commission
- Fundacion Azti - Azti Fundazioa
- Nofima As
- Advanced Research Cryptography
- Jochen Kleboth
- Euroquality Sarl
- Fera Science
- Cranswick Country Foods
- Nestec SA
- China National Center For Food Safety Risk Assessment
- Chinese Academy Of Inspection & Quarantine
- Beijing Center For Disease Prevention And Control
- Iangsu Entry Exit Inspection And Quarantine Bureau
- Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection And Quarantine Bureau Of The People Of Republic Of China Seal
- China Meat Research Center
- China National Research Institute Of Food And Fermentation Industries Soe
- China Agricultural University
- Tianjin University Of Science And Technology
- Zhejiang Academy Of Agricultural Sciences
- Yangtze Delta Region Institute Of Tsinghua University Zhejiang
- Ningbo Academy Of Inspection And Quarantine Comprehensive Service Center For Technical Trade Measures
- United States Pharmacopeia Standard R&D And Technical Service (Shanghai)
- Danone Asia-Pacific Management
- Nestle R&D China
- Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group
- Jiangsu Yurun Meat Foods
- Hong Kong Polytechnic University