During the period 2006-2013, the research groups involved in the present call (researchers of recognized prestige in different aspects of food safety and quality) joined their efforts in a consortium to form a scientific-technical platform with the financial support of the Comunidad de Madrid in two I+D programs: Área de Tecnologías Agroalimentarias (ANALISYC and ANALYSICII). This experience showed that the consortium was able to solve problems that had not yet been addressed or for which no suitable solution existed. For that purpose, a plethora of analytical tools were developed to give a prompt response to both existing and future problems.
Following a multidisciplinary approach, the research topics included in this new proposal will be considered under the double aspect of: 1) development of new analytical methodologies to identify a great variety of compounds of high relevance in food safety and quality and of: 2) development of strategies to solve problems that may arise in the food industry and related activities. On the one hand, a set of analytical tools will be developed to determine: i) toxic industrial compounds (brominated flame retardants (BFRs), PAHs, halogenated compounds, arsenic and mercury species); pesticides (triazine, organophosphorus, pyrethrins etc); pharmaceuticals and metabolites (antibiotics such as macrolides, quinolones, betalactams; pharmaceuticals in cancer and Alzheimer treatment; antidepressants, antilipids drugs, nonsteroidal antiinflammatories); banned or not regulated substances (additives, colorants, racemates); undesirable compounds resulting from food processing (oxidation of lipids, aldehydes and fatty acids); toxic compounds from packaging (phthalates, bisphenol A, parabens, benzophenones); ii) bioactive compounds and ingredients (peptides, carbohydrates, terpenes, flavor compounds, racemates, amino acids, poliphenols, bioactive species of Se, Zn and I). On the other hand, the developed methodologies will be applied to control situations and processes (raw materials quality, food processing, packaging effects) which may have an adverse impact on the safety and quality of various food products (dairy products, fruits, cereals and derived products, baby food and infant formula, spices, coffee, wine, processed food (frying, oven food processing). In addition, strategies for the improvement of food safety and quality will also be addressed (mitigation of formation of undesirable substances during processing, development of active food packaging, search of new sources of bioactive compounds or, development of bioactive enriched food.
The experience and infrastructure acquired by the members of this consortium in the previous two programs will be used to face new challenges and to promote the further advance of scientific knowledge. The scientific results provided by the consortium will have significant impact not only on the scientific community and on the industry sector but also in identifying solutions to overcome current challenges concerning food industry. In order to provide healthy and safe food to consumers, new approaches to improve food safety and quality will be assessed. The potential and synergy demonstrated by the consortium in the previous two programs will allow us to yield a fast and effective response to those food safety issues which might occur due to the presence of toxic compounds or adulterants in food products.