What we do
The Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality (KC-FFQ), provides and shares up-to-date scientific knowledge on food fraud and food quality issues. It coordinates market surveillance activities and operates early warning and information system for food fraud.
Collectively operated by the Commision's science and knoweldge service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Departments regulating the feed-food chain and protecting consumer rights, the KC-FFQ works to:
- Create formalised science/policy interface in support of initiatives for safe-guarding the quality of agri-food products and protecting the integrity of the food chain;
- Ensure knowledge sharing among different Commission departments, scientists and competent authorities in EU countries through a Community of Practice;
- Build collaboration with authorities in third countries.
The Centre complements the activities of the EU Food Fraud Network, which is operated by the European Commission Department for Health and Food Safety.
Location and services
The KC-FFQ is hosted by the JRC and its main laboratories are based at its Geel site in Belgium.
The JRC has a long-standing expertise in food science including research on authenticity of foods and expertise in development, application and validation of analytical test methods to detect fraud in the food chain.
The services offered by the Knowledge Centre entails:
- Knowledge production, including analysis of the vulnerability to fraudulent manipulations of supply chains in the single market; coordination of market surveillance with regard to the perceived quality of certain foods; predictive modelling of trade flows to spot market irregularities; development and harmonisation of detection methods.
- Knowledge sharing, including the operation of an early warning and information system for food fraud; networking with competent authorities in EU countries; linking information systems in EU countries.
- Knowledge management, including systematic literature reviews, policy briefs, horizon scans.
- Country specific knowledge, including mapping of the control infrastructure, existing information systems, and food fraud and quality related competences in EU countries.
- International cooperation with competent authorities in third countries, Standard Developing Organisations such as International Organization for Standardization (ISO), European Committee for Standardization (CEN), FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius, and law enforcement agencies such EUROPOL and INTERPOL.
A Steering Group ensures the governance structure of the Knowledge Centre. It provides strategic direction to match demand with supply, ensures a balance of topics, verifies the output quality, and requests resources.
It is co-chaired at Director level by the European Commission Department for Health and Food Safety (SANTE) and the JRC.
In addition, the Steering Group will be further composed of the following Commission Departments:
- Agriculture and Rural Affairs (AGRI)
- Justice and Consumers (JUST),
- Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MARE),
- Customs Union and Taxation (TAXUD),
- Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROW),
The Steering Group meets at least once a year.
Food forensics relies on the availability of validated detection methods. Standards developing organisations have validated the following horizontal methods:
- Food analysis - Horizontal methods (European Committee for Standardization – Technical Committee 275);
- Food products (International Organization for Standardization – Technical Committee 34);
- Test methods (Food Authenticity - A Virtual Network for Food Authenticity Analysis).
Monthly summary of articles on food fraud and adulteration - January, 2021. Food fraud cases: meet and meat products, fruits and vegetables, confectionery, fruit and vegetables...
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