EU PETER project on food and feed traceability: Successful first year of project

Participants in the EU PETER project on food and feed traceability have reported a successful first year. Successes include the fulfilment of chief aims in the co-ordination and dissemination of information a total of sixteen 16 individual initiatives addressing traceability.

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:

  • provision of an international forum for the focussing, dissemination and exploitation of EU research on food and feed traceability;
  • improvement of collaboration between European projects;
  • reduction of duplication between on-going projects;
  • maximisation of the effectiveness of projects through the sharing of objectives and results;
  • creation of added value for project work through the identification of research gaps and of areas of potentially complementary activity;
  • achievement of a high level of dissemination involving 422 project participants.

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:

  • TraceFood - a framework addressing the origin and processing of food products (see
  • TraceCore XML - ensuring that relevant, comparable and searchable information can be gathered and shared in a standard way through a supply chain for all food products (
  • FoodTrace Generic Framework - ensuring smooth and efficient transfer of information along and across every stage of food chains with the ability to plan, model, validate and implement(
  • FoodTrace: Guidelines for Data Capture - the business, process and quality drivers for realising harmonious traceability systems and accommodating cross supply chain complexities(

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 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.