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DG Joint Research Centre of the European Commission
Dr Alain MAQUET<br>JRC-IRMM<br>Belgium
TRACE 3rd Annual Meeting
26 - 27 April 2007
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EC-DG-JRC - European Commission
Directorate General - Joint Research Centre
The Joint Research Centre is a research based policy support organisation and an integral part of the European Commission. We are a Directorate General, providing the scientific advice and technical know-how to support EU policies. Our institutes (Seven institutes distributed in 5 Member States) carry out extensive research of direct concern to European citizens and industry. The mission of the IRMM - Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (2 colleague involved in WP1 and 2 colleagues involved in WP3) is to promote a common and reliable European measurement system in support of EU policies while the mission of the IHCP - Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (1 colleague involved in WP1, WP2 and WP10) is to provide scientific support to the development and implementation of EU policies related to health and consumer protection. IRMM gives scientific and technical support to institutions engaged in the implementation of food legislation, in particular by validating and harmonising analytical methods. IRMM also provides proficiency testing materials and organises proficiency tests and other measurement capability evaluations, and develops and produces certified reference materials for quality assurance of chemical, biochemical, biological and nuclear measurements. The IHCP carries out research to improve the understanding of potential health risks posed by chemicals, biocides, genetically modified organisms, contaminants released from food contact materials and consumer products. The research programme of IHCP, like that of IRMM, aims to contribute to the establishment of guidelines, to provide scientific basis and tools to implement EU legislation in the Member States. This is achieved through the development and the validation of methods to guarantee the origin, safety, quality of consumer products including food packaging, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and chemicals. This work also contributes to the competitiveness of industry by establishing predictable and efficient rules for companies operating in these areas.
Up to now, no validated methods are available for routine analysis in order to check the authenticity/compliance of organic food products with EC rules [Regulation (EC) 2092/91]. It is therefore important that validated analytical and sampling methods are developed and prescribed. Initiatives in this area are already being carried out by the JRC.<br>In addition, the JRC has a specialised laboratory that aims to ensure correct implementation of EU wine quality legislation by detecting the origin of agricultural products and providing objective analytical parameters for a European system for protecting foodstuffs (i.e. PDO, PGI, and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed - TSG). The JRC together with partners of its network of anti-fraud Member States Laboratories have already initiated research on authenticity of olive oil, milk and dairy products, geographical origin of meat, fish and eggs.<br>The JRC has also participated in a FP5 project aimed at developing methods for detecting mammalian tissues in feedingstuffs (RTD STRATFEED project). Our responsibility was to determine the method performance characteristics by in-house and interlaboratory method validations.<br>The JRC has been given the mandate for the operation of the "Community Reference Laboratory (CRL)" that has been established in the context of the European Union GM Food and Feed Legislation. The core task of the CRL is the technical evaluation and validation of quantitative detection methods for GM Food and Feed as part of a Commission authorisation procedure. It does so in collaboration with a European Network of more than seventy National Control Laboratories, assembled in the European Network of GMO Laboratories (ENGL). The JRC contributed the Commission Recommendation on technical guidance for sampling and detection of GMOs in the context of Labelling and Traceability (Regulation (EC) 1829/2003) supporting data to DG SANCO and DG ENV.<br>The JRC supports traceability of livestock and meat through the development of efficient and reliable systems for unique identification of animals during their entire life, and systems that can carry over the identity to carcasses and meat. The action supports the new regulation on individual identification of sheep and goats. An electronic identifier is used to identify animals individually and is linked to animal data in order to set-up national systematic herd books, connected with and/or national data bases. The JRC is also investigating technology for electronic passports, for transferring identity to carcasses and meat labels along the slaughtering process, and the feasibility to use DNA fingerprinting as a tool to authenticate meat labelling.
WP3: Real-time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction: Investigate the utility and efficiency of real-time RT-PCR method for discriminating organic and conventional food products. The efficiency of the real-time RT-PCR will be tested first on winter wheat and extended during the second phase of the project to the analysis of an Italian PGI cereal (i.e. Triticum dicoccum) cultivated in organic farming.<br> Reference Materials: i) To contribute to the selection of suitable reference materials for trace element and stable isotope analysis and soil samples. Particularly, for stable isotope analysis of food samples, a study on the design of a suitable reference material (i.e. methionine) will be performed; ii) To develop and provide two plasmid standards for the differentiation of cereal species by consensus-PCR (qualitative).<br>Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry: To measure strontium ( 87Sr / 86Sr) by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry of soil samples and food commodities (i.e. water, cereals, honey, olive oil, lamb, beef, and chicken) proceeding of France and Austria.<br>Nuclear Magnetic Resonance: To collect and archive spectra from olive oil using liquid chromatography coupled to NMR for the detection of signals and species characteristics of olive oil of declared quality specifications.
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