Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Europe takes joint action on food-borne environmental pollutants in new expert network


The harmful effects of chemical contaminants in food are of major health concern in Europe today. However, a lack of integration of interdisciplinary activities, such as basic research and risk assessment, severely hampers the efforts to reach European excellence in this area. The individual research projects are also small in scale and not well integrated into a coherent structure. To tackle the fragmentation problems and to achieve synergistic effects and full European research potential, the European Commission will this week sign a contract worth over €14 million with 18 different European research centers, which will form a durable European Network of Excellence in food safety.

The so-called CASCADE Network of Excellence, coordinated from Swedish Karolinska Institutet, had its first meeting in Malaga, Spain, February 12th – 14th. Around 70 scientists, EU officials, and other invited project leaders met and discussed an appropriate course of action for the future. It was agreed that CASCADE has the potential and goal to be a world force in knowledge on the health issues related to chemical contaminants in food.

The focus will lie on the action of complex mixtures of chemical contaminants on hormonal systems. Hormone disrupting agents, acting through nuclear receptors, are known to be involved in many different pathological processes, such as tumour development and growth, metabolic disease and obesity, and coronary heart disease; in short the major diseases that affect Europeans today. In this initial 5-year contract, the molecular biologists, chemists, epidemiologists, ecotoxicologists, physiologists and endocrinologists of CASCADE will focus on the mechanisms of action of the chemical residues and their levels in the food chain, development of common sampling techniques, and identification of biological markers to assess any health risks the contaminants might constitute for humans. Specific focus groups will be women, newborn children and other susceptible populations. A new approach will be to develop strategies to take any beneficial effects of certain natural food constituents into consideration in the overall risk analysis.

“We are extremely excited over this opportunity to participate in the establishment of a new and highly competitive infrastructure for European research in the area of food toxicology” says coordinator Professor Jan-Åke Gustafsson at the Department of Biosciences at the South Campus of Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge. Vice-coordinator Ingemar Pongratz adds “This is not another research project. We are gluing 16 institutes and 2 companies into one unity. No single country has enough competence by itself to solve the problem.” Results will include training programmes and provision of rationalised information to society for a balanced risk assessment of food contaminants. Various national and international organisations have already been associated to the network to reinforce the contacts between CASCADE and the outside world. In annual open fora, CASCADE will communicate scientific achievements of the network to the public, to authorities, and to organisations associated to the network as observers.


CASCADE is funded through the European Commission, Sixth Framework Programme, Thematic Area 5: Food Quality and Safety. CASCADE is being provided €14.4 million over 5 years for its scientific, integration, teaching, information, and risk assessment activities.

Jan-Åke Gustafsson | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>