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Sixth Framework Programme (2000-2006): food quality and safety


This programme aims to guarantee the production and distribution of safer, healthier and more varied foods (vegetable, meat and fish), with a view to increasing the safety and confidence of European citizens.


Council decision 2002/835/EC of 30 September 2002 adopting a specific programme for research, technological development and demonstration: "structuring the European Research Area" (2002-2006) [Official Journal L 294 of 29.10.2002].


For consumers, the most important thing about their food is that it should be safe. Recent crises have shaken the confidence of citizens in the ability of the food industry to guarantee food safety.

In spite of scientific and technical knowledge and increasingly stringent legislation in the agri-foodstuffs sector, the number of food alerts (bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), dioxin, listeriosis, salmonella) has increased in the last decade.

Citizens and consumers expect research to help ensure that foods and commercial products are of a high quality, healthy and perfectly fit for consumption.

In 2000, the Commission published its White Paper on food safety, which provides for a reform of the legislation to make it more coherent and transparent, and the reinforcement of scientific advice structures.

In this context, the Commission and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are working together to guarantee healthy foods for European citizens by improving their understanding of the influence of diet and environmental factors on human health.

The challenges presented in the field of food safety go beyond monitoring and quality control. Biotechnology has opened a vast new field of exploration into new modes of agricultural production and innovative food products such as "functional" foods (foods with a health benefit in addition to the physiological value of the nutrients they contain).

The budget of the 6th Framework Programme for this priority is 685 million euros, with action focussing on the following areas:

  • methods and procedures of producing safer, healthier, more nutritious and varied foods and feedstuffs, based on agricultural systems which use fewer inputs and favouring organic farming;
  • the epidemiology of disorders linked to food and allergies, including the effects of diet on child health, and the analysis of food allergies;
  • the effect on health of novel foods, organic produce, functional foods, products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and products of biotechnology;
  • procedures to ensure "traceability" throughout the production chain, in particular with regard to GMOs;
  • methods of analysis, detection and control for existing or emerging contaminants, chemicals and pathogenic micro-organisms (viruses, bacteria, yeasts, fungi, etc.);
  • the effect of animal diet on human health, including foods containing GMOs;
  • health and environmental risks associated with the food chain, the cumulative effect of authorised substances and the effects of long-term exposure to low doses (toxicology).


of entry into force
Final date for implementation in the Member States
Decision 1513/2002/ECApplication date: 01.01.2003
Expiry date: 31.12.2006
Last updated: 04.01.2007
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