European mechanism for the validation and approval of new methods to detect/identify microorganisms in food and drinks

Establishment of a european mechanism for the validation
and approval of new methods of microbiological analysis of
food and drinks which are urgently required in view of the
multitude of different methods currently on the market.

This project aims at establishing a European mechanism for the validation and approval of novel methods for the microbiological analysis of food and drinks. Ultimately, the result of the project should be that in the future it is possible to submit a novel method for the determination of micro-organisms in food and drinks to a recognised, qualified European institution, body or authority that will arrange for a validation and approval procedure. Unlike the American counterpart for the validation methods (AOAC) the project proposal described here aims at (i) participation of competent laboratories only, (ii) official acceptance of approved methods, and (iii) completion of evaluation studies within a reasonable period of time (preferably one year). There is a clear need for these novel microbiological methods, since in principle they present promising alternatives for the traditional methods, which are often time consuming, labour intensive and too aspecific and insensitive. A proper European procedure for the approval of novel methods is lacking however, as a result of which acceptance and penetration is slow. Obviously, this is not in the benefit of the public sector as a whole, the food and drink industry and the manufacturers of new analytical tools. It is envisaged that the whole project will last at least three years, but preferably four years. The project will be carried out in the following three phases: 1. In the initial, inventory stage, existing procedures coming from the private sector (industry), public institutes and normalisation bodies will be evaluated in depth i.e. including those from the French AFNOR and the USA-AOAC. Detailed analysis will result in a proposal for a European procedure for validation of methods involving competent laboratories only. AFNOR and NNI will have the lead in formulating the proposal for validation, as well as in selection of competent laboratories. Laboratories which do not have the necessary qualifications, should be allowed to "participate" for training reasons (i.e. their results will not be taken into account for the actual evaluation study). 2. In the second stage the feasibility of a prototype of a European procedure (aimed at European certification) will be tested with involvement of at least two countries and representative participation of: (i) manufacturers of analytical tools for microbiological analysis of food and drinks, (ii) standardisation bodies, and (iii) the food and drinks industry. This will provide insight as to whether a validation procedure to be completed within one year is feasible or not. Methods to be validated during this phase will represent a realistic degree of diversity with respect to type of method and end-application. 3. During the third and final stage the protocols will be fine-tuned. The results will be reported and published. Also the organisational aspects will be addressed. The aim is to close off the project in such a way that a certain form of organisation (mechanism) has been arranged or proposed with agreement of both the public and the private sector, so that the topic will keep its own momentum, without direct financial support from the E.U. Arrangements will be made so that participation by any interested organisation in one way or the other will be possible. At regular time intervals, the status of the project should be discussed with or reported to the relevant people within the E.U.
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1 300 000.00€
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Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.