The PETER project (Promoting European Traceability Excellence and Research) co-ordinates the broad range of EU-funded research in the field of food traceability funded by the EU. The project also collates research results into a user-friendly form for use by SMEs on a global basis. It was established in 2006 as a Framework 6 Specific Support Action Programme.
As part of the efforts to guarantee the security, safety and quality of food, the EU has invested more than 100 million euro in traceability research. This investment has facilitated the establishment of a uniquely comprehensive database on traceability that is of great value to exporters and importers, growers and breeders, feed manufacturers, food processors and manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers.
In the first annual report, partners of the PETER project state their fulfilment of key stage targets in the following:
Within PETER, Drs Yves Bertheau and John Davison represent the Co-Extra project concerned with the co-existence and traceability of GMO food and feed chains. Under the auspices of PETER, Co-Extra has established a series of stakeholder seminars that have been conducted with a variety of audiences (competent authorities, SMEs, scientists) in countries including Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Russia, the Czech Republic, Algeria, Italy, the UK and Israel. As representatives of the Co-Extra project, John Davison and Yves Bertheau have also written a peer-reviewed review*.
Project co-ordinator Michel Debord stated: "PETER is essentially about communication, both between the EU-based stakeholders in the food and feed industries and between the EU and those who wish to trade with it."
"As the world's largest single market the EU offers a massive opportunity for those wishing to trade with it so long as they understand and comply with traceability standards and legislation."
A series of international conferences and workshops and a web-based organ of communications as well as specific platforms for dialogue with industry, consumer and standardisation stakeholders all were instrumental in the dissemination of information on key traceability issues.
In addition, significant research products available from partners of the PETER project include the following:
The PETER project will also produce a Compendium of Automatic Identification and Data Capture Technologies and Application Guidelines relevant to traceability. In addition, a database containing details of activities, stakeholders, communication and dissemination channels on traceability in the EU, INCO countries and in the Latin America and MERCOSUR region has also been established.
"Having achieved our initial objectives of consolidation and dissemination we shall in the second year of the project be investigating a whole range of additional research areas, and which we recommend should be included in EU Framework 7 calls," added Mr Debord.
To read the PETER report in full go to www.eu-peter.org and click on the pdfs in the news section in the right-hand column
*EU regulations on traceability and detection of GMOs: difficulties in interpretation, implementation and compliance (2007) CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources.