WP 3.2Spoke 03

Strategies for risk mitigation in food production, processing, storage and retail

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Blog postMay 17, 2023

Risk mitigation strategies in food production, processing, storage and retailing

Work Package 3.2 is dedicated to risk mitigation in food production, processing, storage, and sale. The research aims to develop advanced strategies to reduce potential chemical, biological, and toxicological risks associated with food products.

One of the main areas of focus is the development of predictive models that describe the effects of uncontrolled or unforeseen processing and storage conditions on food safety. Another important aspect of WP 3.2 is the reduction of potential allergenicity and toxicity of foods using new alternatives to additives or synergistic combinations with "green" alternatives.

To mitigate food production and storage risks, new optimised processes are being developed to ensure the chemical and microbiological quality of food products such as milk and other dairy products. In addition, new techniques are being explored to reduce toxic heavy metals and nitrates in specific food products.

The WP 3.2 research also explores the potential of different diets, breeding systems, and breeds to ensure food safety. A "farm to fork" approach will be favoured to mitigate the impact of phytopathogens on crop productivity, quality, and safety.

Another area of interest is innovative measures for mitigating the risks of bacterial pathogens in food. These measures include the use of customised fermentation processes based on biocontrol agents, lactic acid bacteria, unconventional yeasts, and symbiotic cultures of microorganisms. Natural antimicrobials and hydrolysed raw matrices also inactivate food processing, storage, and sales pathogens.

New techniques such as genome editing are used to produce personalised foods with an improved nutritional profile, while other biotechnological processes are used to eliminate toxic compounds and produce new foods and beverages from innovative substrates. Personalised biotechnological approaches are set up to valorise alternative protein sources such as cricket powder, micro and macroalgae, single-cell proteins, yeast biomass, and agri-food and fisheries by-products.

Finally, WP 3.2 analyses the role of cognitive, emotional, and relational factors in determining risk perception and beliefs about food safety. Therefore, effective and personalised communication strategies are developed to promote food safety practices and engage citizens. Promoting stakeholder engagement actions, such as targeted initiatives for journalists, nutritionists, opinion leaders, and influencers, is also a key aspect of Work Package 3.2.

Task and deliverables

Task 3.2.1.

The task includes: a) the development of advanced predictive models describing the effects of uncontrolled or unexpected processing/storage conditions on chemical biological risks; b) the reduction of the allergenic potential/toxicity of foods

Task 3.2.2.

Innovative mitigation measures to reduce the risks through the application of bacterial pathogens challenges in food models. Tailored fermentation processes, based on QPS microorganisms (i.e., biocontrol agents, lactic acid bacteria, non-conventional yeasts, symbiotic culture of microorganisms) and hydrolysed food matrices, will be set-up and integrated in traditional food production protocols to increase food safety. Selected natural antimicrobials (e.g., essential oils) and hydrolysed raw matrices will be used to inactivate pathogens at food processing, storage, and retail levels.

Task 3.2.3.

New breeding techniques like genome editing will be used to produce customised safety food and to generate lines with an improved nutritional profile covering both compounds with beneficial properties and reducing anti-nutritional components. Biotechnological processes will be used to eliminate toxic compounds to produce new food/beverages from novel substrates. Tailored (bio)technological approaches will be set up to valorise alternative protein sources (i.e., cricket powder, micro- and macro-algae, single cell proteins, and yeast biomasses, agri-food and fishery by-products, insect-based foods. Set- up of a safe system of cellular agriculture for the development of novel food, like cultured meat and cheese in connection with Spoke 2 and 4)



Preliminary pool of innovative mitigation strategies (M12)


Definition of antimicrobial activity of bacteria, phage, plant extract, peptides from vegetables (M18)


Protocol for genome editing (M24)


Selection of biotechnological protocols to reduce toxic compounds in novel foods (M24)


Strategies for consumer engagement (month 12)