Supporting evidence based policies
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SUPPORTING EVIDENCE-BASED POLICIES. Professor Mike Roberts Chief Executive Central Science Laboratory – Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs United Kingdom. Background. AIM: “Sustaining and safeguarding agriculture, food and environment” .

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Professor Mike Roberts

Chief Executive

Central Science Laboratory –

Department for Environment, Food and

Rural Affairs

United Kingdom

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AIM:“Sustaining and safeguarding agriculture, food and environment”

  • Purpose built £120M laboratory based in York

  • Turnover - £42m

  • 700 staff, over 500 live projects

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Risk assessment and management

Policy making






Database management Advice

Research Surveillance Forensics

Representation Facilities Experts



Government function

Creating knowledge, providing solutions

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Department for Environment and Rural Affairs

Pesticides Safety Directorate

European Commission

Veterinary Medicines Directorate

Overseas Governments

Department for International Development

Environment Agency

Countryside Agencies

Industry and Levy Boards

Food Standards Agency

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CSL Objectives

  • Counter invasive species, pests and diseases and support contingency plans.

  • Promote safety of pesticides, veterinary medicines and environmental contaminants.

  • Assess the quality, authenticity and safety of foods.

  • Support agri-environment schemes, wildlife management and vertebrate control.

  • Develop novel biocontrol agents and non-food crops.

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Plant health

Pesticides and Veterinary


Wildlife Ecology

And Management

Food Safety and Quality

Environmental Biology

Proficiency Testing

Agricultural and Rural


Science at CSL

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EU Activities

1. EFSA – Risk Assessment

  • Collaborative Research FP6

    3. Support to new member states – TWINNING

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European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

  • Risk Assessment

    • Hazard identification

    • hazard characterisation

    • exposure assessment

    • risk characterisation

  • Risk Communication


  • Risk Management (DG SANCO)

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European Food Safety Authority

  • Independent scientific advice on food safety issues to underpin policy development and legislation related to the food chain

  • Science Committees:

    - Food additives, flavourings, processing and contact materials

    - Dietetic products, nutrition and allergies

  • Science Programmes

    - Integration of data

    - Emerging Risks

    - Contingency support

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Numbers of Samples of Spices for Illegal Dyes Analyses




1 Sudan I, II, III & IV

2 Para Red

3 Rhodamine B,

Sudan Orange G

Sudan Red 7B

Butter Yellow

4 Orange II

5 Sudan Red B

Sudan Red G

Sudan Black B

Toluidene Red



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Priorities in FP6 Programme

  • Total food chain

  • Epidemiology of food-related diseases

  • Impact of food on health

  • ‘Traceability’ along the production chain

  • Methods of analysis, detection and control

  • Safer and environmentally friendly production methods and technologies

  • Impact of animal feed on human health

  • Environmental health issues

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Some examples of EU projects involving CSL

  • Integrated Project – TRACE

    (co-ordinated by CSL)

  • Integrated Project – BIOCOP

    (co-ordinated N Ireland)

  • STREP project – HEATOX

    (co-ordinated Sweden)

  • STREP project – QA-LIBRA

    (co-ordinated Iceland)

  • SSA project – SELAMAT

    (co-ordinated Netherlands)

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European Commission -DG Research


- tracing the origin of food

  • 18. 6 M€

  • 60 months

  • 50 participants (13 SME’s)

  • “To develop traceability methods and systems that will provide consumers with added confidence in the authenticity of European food.”

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European initiatives to support food traceability

  • Consumer socio-economic concerns and

    preferences relating to the origin of food-

    • BSE,

    • dioxins,

    • Sudan red,

    • regional foods,

    • type of production

  • EU FPVI Food 2003 2A T 4.1 “Development of reliable traceability methods and systems to establish the origin/mode of production of food products”

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European Commission -DG Research


- tracing the origin of food

Consumer Awareness & Behaviour

Demonstration, Training, Dissemination




Traceable data capable of verifying the origin of food


Traceability systems

Analytical Tools

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Twinning – Supporting EU Enlargement

  • EU-funded Twinning Programme

  • Aims to assist Accession States and Candidate Countries develop modern and efficient administrations comparable to those of Member States

  • Experts from Member States work with the beneficiary States for at least a year to build capacity in clearly defined areas

  • Twinning is open to public sector organisations only

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Support to new Member States - TWINNING

CSL will work with Accession Countries to build capacity in Phytosanitory Regulations and Food Safety

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Twinning – CSL’s portfolio of projects

  • Phytosanitary support for Poland (with NI-CO; 2004–06)

  • Phytosanitary support for Estonia (with CABI & PDIR; 2004–07)

  • Plant protection training in Lithuania (with PSD & SASA; 2005–06)

  • Phytosanitary support for Hungary (tba)

  • Food safety support in Malta (with FSAI; 2005-06)

  • Establishment of Food-Chain Laboratories Agency in Republic of Serbia (with FSA & NI-CO; 2005-07)

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  • Coordinator: CSL (I Barker)

  • Network of EU Plant Health testing labs and inspection services (38 partners;)

  • Strong SME presence

  • Principal stakeholders included

R&D partners (black)

SME partners (grey)

Ring testing partners (green)

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EU FP6: PORTCHECK: On-site testing

EU FP6: PORTCHECK: On-site testing

  • Feasibility of transferring real-time PCR technology to EU inspection services (quarantine plant diseases).

  • Improved policing of EU borders to protect our crops and native species.

  • Contingency planning: animal health and agri-bioterrorism.

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Sixth Framework Programme - ERA-NET Scheme

  • Aim: To improve the cooperation and coordination of research programmes through:

    • Networking of research activities conducted at national or regional level.

    • Mutual opening of national and regional research programmes.

  • EUPHRESCO(EUPHytosanitary RESearch Coordination)

    • ERA-NET Coordination Action (CA)

    • Maximum funding: 3 million Euros (100% eligible costs)

    • Initiated by the COPHS and also supported by SCAR

    • Coordinator: Defra CSL, UK

    • ca. 4 years duration

    • Proposal to be submitted to the final FP6 call: 4 Oct 2005

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EUPHRESCO - Partners

  • Eligible partners are research funders/programme managers acting on behalf of Member State legal entities

  • Full partners must also have an existing research programme in the phytosanitary field.

    • 24 Full partners, representing 17 countries: UK, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey.

    • 6 Observers: Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta and Portugal.

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Sustainable Agriculture and Food Safety

  • EU and national strategy shifting from agricultural competitiveness to underpinning sustainable rural economy and environmental objectives.

  • Pro-active approach of EU Agencies to food safety, with increases in national monitoring programmes and controls on food imports.

  • National requirements to maintain capacity for risk management and contingency responses.

  • Consolidation of the science base in national institutes and within ag-chem and food industries.