Each of us has faced a situation when after ordering the desired product we later realised that we had not received what we expected. Such cases undoubtedly undermine our confidence in traders and create a suspicious atmosphere in society. Although it is hard to believe, the global food fraud market is estimated at 15 billion US dollars, and complex food supply chains make the food sector even more vulnerable. This affects vegans and those who eat only Halal or Kosher food because of their religious beliefs the most, as these groups are highly vulnerable in the context of food fraud.
The EIT Food EthiChain project is an initiative to develop innovative DNA analysis systems that, in a fast and portable way, will make it possible to verify the authenticity of food products aimed at communities with certain ethical or religious requirements such as vegan, halal and kosher. These types of products, characterized by the need to control all stages of the supply chain, require exhaustive monitoring to ensure consumer confidence through more transparent production. EIT Food is the world's largest Agrifood Innovation Ecosystem supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
Specifically, the project will develop three independent solutions: one to detect animal DNA in vegan products, another one to detect pork in Halal products and a third one to detect horse/donkey and pork DNA in Kosher products.
These rapid and portable DNA identification systems would be easy-to-use and will allow in situ sample analysis and obtention of results in less than one hour. Also, since the systems will not require specialized personnel or complex equipment, usage barriers will be minimum, making them suitable for direct implementation in routine analysis in food industries, retailers and control laboratories.
The analysis results will be digitalized through a specific app that will allow automatic data integration into each company´s existing traceability system, contributing to the improvement of the respective supply chain traceability. All the information regarding a certain product, including results from food sensing analysis, would be gathered, and made accessible to the whole food chain involved, providing the complete picture of the product quality.
EIT Food EthiChain is a project funded by EIT Food and formed by technological companies (ART21, from Lithuania and SwissDeCode from Switzerland), research centres (AZTI from Spain, and Technion from Israel) and the University of Bolonia (Italy).
EIT Food EthiChain is a Project under the Support of EIT Food. EIT Food is the world’s largest and most dynamic food innovation community. We accelerate innovation to build a future-fit food system that produces healthy and sustainable food for all.
Supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union, we invest in projects, organisations and individuals that share our goals for a healthy and sustainable food system. We unlock innovation potential in businesses and universities, and create and scale agrifood startups to bring new technologies and products to market. We equip entrepreneurs and professionals with the skills needed to transform the food system and put consumers at the heart of our work, helping build trust by reconnecting them to the origins of their food.
We are one of eight innovation communities established by the European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT), an independent EU body set up in 2008 to drive innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe.