To sanitize or not to sanitize discussed on Veg-i-Trade mini-Symposium on Water in Fresh Produce Supply Chain

On April 24th, the issue of water management in fresh produce supply chain was discussed by Veg-i-Trade project partners together in a mini-Symposium with ca. 70 participants from industry, industry association and competent authorities in EU. The topics included the microbial status of irrigation water and risk Factors for transmission of pathogens to leafy greens, the pros and cons of various water treatment technologies, the do’s and don’ts of water disinfection in processing fresh-cut produce and the use of microbial risk assessment to set science-based guidelines for water quality in the fresh produce supply chain.













6th Veg-i-Trade Consortium meeting at University of Pretoria in South Africa

In the week of March 18th 2014, Veg-i-Trade partners gathered in South Africa for the 6th and final Consortium meeting. The Consortium meeting was preceded by a public Food Sovereignty Conference discussing global perspectives in the fresh produce supply chain co-organized by Veg-i-Trade and the University of Pretoria. The actual Veg-i-Trade Consortium meeting took place in the confererence Center in Kruger Park. Partners discussed final achievements of research work undertaken and lessons learnt.





Veg-i-Trade partner Ghent University visits Universitade Federal do Rio Grande do Sol in Porto Alegre, Brazil

In the week of February 1st 2014, both Prof. Mieke Uyttendaele, Prof. Liesbeth Jacxsens & Ph.D Student Stefanie Delbeke from UGent visited the Brazilian partner within Veg-i-Trade. Prof Tondo & Prof. Bender looked after a warm (37°C!) welcome and enabled us to interact and discuss with local farmers, fresh-cut processing industries, public health services. This helped to see to which extent “global” recommendations on best practices are needed/ can apply locally to govern safety and quality of fresh produce for all. Also a discussion session with Master and Ph.D students at UFRGS was on the program to stimulate collaboration and exchange in present and future research.

Veg-i-Trade first research results published on screening of moulds and mycotoxins in fresh produce and derived products

PhD student Evelien Van de Perre of the Department of Food Safety & Food Quality, Ghent University published two papers on the screening of moulds and mycotoxins in tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, soft red fruits and derived tomato products. On tomatoes, onions and soft red fruits, Alternaria spp. and their associated mycotoxins were detected. Derived tomato products were also screened and six out of 173 samples and four out of 173 samples were positive for alternariol and alternariol monomethyl ether, respectively. Patulin was present in 11% of the sweet bell peppers and in 8% of the soft red fruits, but not in onions. Patulin was also found in tomatoes, but could not be detected in derived tomato products.



Veg-i-Trade shares its results via a webinar

Coordindator Mieke Uyttendaele presented the Veg-i-Trade project via a Webinar to a broad public. This Webinar was organized by CommNet, a network making EU funded Bioeconomy Research accessible to teachers, children, politicians, industry and the media.

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The presentation contained insights on various micro-organisms such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Norovirus that have been linked to fresh produce food borne outbreaks. Another topic that was addressed is how food safety can be controlled in a globalized world thanks to the implementation of control measures and legislation. Climate change and its impact on food safety was explained as well. The presentation ended with an appeal to the youngsters to become a scientist as well, together with their important role to safeguard food safety at home.

CommNet also developed a toolkit to providing information about food and food safety for teachers and students of different age groups.





Veg-i-Trade participates to openAIRE supporting dissemination of research

Open Aire is an Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe. The Veg-i-Trade researchers from Ghent University decided to collect their Veg-i-Trade publications in the OpenAIRE compliant repository Biblio. This is a good example of how OpenAIRE can support projects to make research output available in Open Access and accessible to a wider audience.

Veg-i-Trade disseminates its results to stakeholders!

Through interviews, publications and presentations Veg-i-Trade informs about its approach and the results achieved so far. Recently, some Veg-i-Trade interviews have contributed to the debate on food safety of fresh produce on various websites. A publication in New Food talks about fresh produce border rejections. Furthermore, the opportunities Veg-i-Trade identified for further improvement of the Codes of Good Practice will be shared with the fresh produce industry at a "Global Gap" event and presented to the scientific community at the 1st BacFooDNet conference in November 2013.

Read more on...





Veg-i-Trade edits a Special Issue on “Climate Change and Food Safety” in Food Research International

We would like to invite you to submit relevant papers to the high-impact journal Food Research International for the special issue on "Impacts of Climate Change on Food Safety". Submission opens the 1st of December 2013 and the final submission deadline is the 1st of April 2014. Feel free to forward this call in your network. We are very much looking forward to your contributions!

Nynke Hofstra, Environmental Systems Analysis Group, Wageningen University, the Nethl. & Mieke Uyttendaele, Dept. Food Safety & Food Quality, Ghent University, Belgium

Veg-i-Trade & ILSI toured to discuss on Water Safety and Quality

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Both at the IAFP Europe Meeting in Marseille, France in May 2013, at the IAFP Annual meeting in Charlotte, US in July 2013 and also at the SAAFOST meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, Veg-i-Trade in collaboration with ILSI organized a Mini-Symposium on Water Safety and Quality. This showed to be hot topic on an international scale, as water resources are under increasing pressure and concerns on the use of water in fresh produce production have raised. Speakers discussed on microbial hazards in fresh produce and water including bacterial pathogens, parasites, viruses. Some preliminary results of the Veg-i-Trade project on water use and quality at primary production were shared. Approaches in assessing water quality and water treatment procedures in the fresh produce supply chain were addressed and data gaps identified. These sessions stimulated open discussions on the way forward and can be used to guide the risk management direction to efficient pathogen control and to select the most appropriate control measures. It also helps to focus research on the areas where important pieces of information are missing.



Veg-i-Trade signs Memorandum of Understanding with South Korean Climate-Foodnet project

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Veg-i-trade presented its work on Climate change and Food safety of Fresh Produce at the the Conference “Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security, Safety, and Nutrition in Our Future ”, May 29th 2013 at the Millenium Hilton, Seoul, South Korea. This event was organised by the South Korean Research Group on Food Safety against Climate Change. On this occassion, also a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the European EU FP7 funded Veg-i-Trade project (coordinator Prof. Mieke Uyttendaele, UGent) and the South Korean KFDA funded Climate-Food.net project (Professor Ki Hwan Park, Chung-Ang University). This stresses the interest for a close collaboration between the two research teams.

Veg-i-Trade publishes articles on “Assessment of Food Safety Management Systems in the Global Fresh Produce Chain”

WUR and UGent researchers developed a self-assessment tool to measure the status of food safety management systems in the fresh supply chain. The self-assessment tool consists of 64 to 69 indicators addressing core activities in prevention and control of microbiological, mycotoxin and pesticide residue contamination (e.g. sanitation programme), the context of the company (e.g. product characteristics) and its system’s output (e.g. complaints). The schemes are useful to farms, processors or traders as an internal audit system to track the “maturity” of their implemented food safety management systems in place. It gives the participants insight in the generic status of “best practices” or level of “management systems” apart from from their specific implemented guidelines and quality assurance standards. The details of this self-assessment tool has recently been published in a set of 2 articles in Food Research International and Trends in Food Science and Technology.


Night of researchers - Science in Motion for Friday Night Commotion

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Ghent University along with University of Belgrade took part to an important promotion event presenting running FP7 projects in Serbia. This event has been organized within Science in Motion for Friday Night Commotion – SCIMFONICOM FP7-PEOPLE-2012-Night, 609724.
With posters, flyers and sort of food safety demonstration the Veg-i-Trade and Aquavalens project were presented to the general public and the attending media.

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Veg-i-Trade shares science with children on the street

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Veg-i-Trade participated to the UGent initiative to bring science to the street. Researchers from Ghent University, Hogeschool Ghent and Arteveldehogeschool toured Ghent to increase the declining motivation to study exact sciences. Carrying cuddly toy bacteria and a microscope, Veg-i-Trade was represented during 2 days on this event.

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The UGent Science on the Street initiative is especially targeted to children who live in a working-class area. In collaboration with the non-profit organization “vzw Jong” working in several different popular neighbour¬hoods in Ghent, the children were invited during “Jong’s” summer activities. Science on the Street presented a real mobile laboratory to the kids and gave them the opportunity to talk to “real” scientists, some of which were Veg-i-Trade scientists.
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At the stand of Veg-i-Trade, the children could become a microbiologist by completing a test about microorganisms and climate change. Afterwards, they had the opportunity to set up their own science project with yeast, sugar and water in a small bottle, which resulted in an inflated balloon. Other stands gave the children the opportunity to create their own electricity network to turn on a lamp, or they learned to assess the amount of vitamin C in different fruit juices.
The children were excited, and the parents got the opportunity to gain more information about higher education. We spent two successful and fun afternoons, together with motivated and happy children.


Veg-i-Trade feedback sessions

Veg-i-Trade organized a series of international workshops addressing fresh produce chain actors and other stakeholders in five partner countries (Belgium, Brazil, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain). These workshops were organized as feedback sessions for all stakeholders who used a diagnostic tool developed by Veg-i-Trade for the assessment of the status of their food safety management systems, good agricultural practices and microbiological results.

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Some 150 persons including stakeholders, fresh produce chain and/or farmers, processing or trading companies, participated in the seven workshops organised so far. Each workshop was tailored to the needs of the audience and regional bottlenecks were discussed.

On the one hand, the quality of the diagnostic tool and the usefulness in practice was discussed. Veg-i-Trade will adapt the tool to these findings and address also regional differences.

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On the other hand, Veg-i-Trade members discussed the results of the diagnostic tool with the respondents, aiming at:
- improving agricultural practices and addressing strong and weak points in their implementation
- identifying microbiological contaminations and risk factors towards the fresh produce chain
- evaluating water treatment, water disinfection and potential re-use of water
- detecting Norovirus and prevalence

For more specific information or dissemination material, please contact Liesbeth Jacxsens (UGent, liesbeth.jacxsens@ugent.be).

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5th Veg-i-Trade Consortium meeting at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in India

In the week of March 18th 2013, Veg-i-Trade partners gathered at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) for the 5th Consortium meeting. Work packages were discussed, plans elaborated to make progress to final Deliverables but also opportunity was taken to visit and interact with stakeholders in fresh produce supply chain in Tamil Nadu region (e.g., organic grape & banana farm, ISHA Ruchi products, Banacombai tea plantation, India governmental agency APEDA, KRISHMAA mango export).


Veg-i-Trade discusses on Microbial Hazards in Water and its impact of safety of fresh produce in at IAFP meetings in Europe & US

Water is crucial in primary production, but also in processing and packing of fresh produce. Water has been established as an important source of contamination with microbial hazards. The sessions at IAFP Europe (Marseille, May 2013) and IAFP annual meeting at US (Charlotte, NC, July 2013), co-organized by EU FP7 Veg-i-Trade & ILSI Europe focus on an update of microbial issues in water i.e. protozoa, viruses and pathogenic bacteria. Based on actual data collection within Veg-i-Trade but also by reviewing literature of approaches in risk assessment information is provided on appropriate water sources, microbial guidelines on water quality or appropriate water treatment methods for waters to be used in agro-food production.



Veg-i-Trade publishes its major outcomes in 2nd period report

Veg-i-Trade has recently submitted its 2nd periodic report (covering September 2011 to December 2012) to the European Commission DG Research. We invite you to read about major outcomes so far in our executive summary report. Learn about the global variability of food systems in place reflected in status of implementation of “best practices” and “management systems”. Refer to progress made in sampling plans, microbial analysis and observations on the field to identify risk factors for microbial contamination. Read what is going on with regard to pre- and post-harvest production practices and water treatment technologies and much more.

Safety and Quality of Leafy Greens discussed in two recently published Veg-i-Trade reviews

Veg-i-Trade partners present the outcomes of their research work at various national and international conferences or in scientific publications. Two review papers deserve in particular to be highlighted. Cheng Liu from the Environmental Systems Analysis Group, Wageningen University published a review on how climate change may enhance pathogen contamination risk on leafy green vegetables and provides a table of climate change impacts on microbial safety.Mabel Gil from CEBAS-CSIC in Murcia Spain published a review which discusses feasible harvest maturity indicators that ensure the high quality of the harvested product . One of the key issues for the success of the fresh-cut industry is the consistency of the raw material to assure the safety, quality and the shelf life of the fresh-cut product.



Veg-i-Trade presents at GFSI meeting in Barcelona, March 6-8th 2013

The Global Food Safety Conference 2013, is a unique annual event that will bring together over 1000 leading food safety professionals from more than 60 countries around the world to advance food safety globally. Over the three days of plenary and breakout sessions are designed to inform about the latest developments in the industry and to challenge thinking around the Food Safety in a Global economy. Veg-i-Trade contributes with 2 presentations in the Session on Produce Safety. Veg-i-Trade presents i) its approach on dealing with safety of fresh produce after an increasing number of produce related food borne outbreaks and ii) discusses the need and its research work of water sanitation in fresh produce supply chain.



EFSA BIOHAZ panel published Opinion on the risk posed by pathogens in fresh produce

In January 2013 a Scientific Opinion of the BIOHAZ Panel was published on the risk posed by pathogens in food of non-animal origin. The opinion is a first part describing outbreak data analysis and risk ranking of food/pathogen combinations. Also Veg-i-Trade experts took part as ad hoc members of this EFSA WG in preparing this opinion. Further follow-up EFSA BIOHAZ opinions focusing in more detail on the risk posed by some selected food pathogen combinations established in part 1 are expected to be published in the future.


A web news story has also been published related to this opinion and is available online via the following link


Veg-i-Trade workshops in Western Cape and Pretoria region (South Africa), January 2013

Multiple workshops were organised for fresh produce farmers and trading companies (i.e. pack houses, storage facilities) in two South African regions, Western Cape and the region around Pretoria in the last week of January 2013. The workshops were a collaboration of Pretoria University, Ghent University and Wageningen University. Objective of the workshops was to inform actors in the fresh produce supply chain in South Africa about the research being elaborated in Veg-i-Trade project and to apply the Horticultural Safety Management System diagnostic tools (‘HSMS-DI’) elaborated within Veg-i-Trade to identify weak and strong points in the current food safety management systems in place in South Africa.

Various approaches to safety in fresh produce supply chain : Veg-i-Trade exchange forum in Ghent, 13-14 December 2012

A noon to noon meeting was organized attended by ca. 25 researchers, company or industry or farmer representatives to exchange and discuss the various approaches, tools and experiences in assuring and controlling safety of fresh produce in different countries. The discussions related to topics of i) best practices in primary production, ii) sampling and testing, iii) water sanitation and iv) management systems in the fresh produce supply chains. The exchange forum looked for common grounds, agreements but also particularities on these topics depending upon the context: regional production practices, regulatory framework or culture.

Information on (food) risk and crisis communication of WHO

This report has been written after the experience of an internship on risk communication at the World Health Organization (WHO), in the Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses (FOS) in the headquarter in Geneva, Switzerland. The main goal of this document is to provide an overview of the amount of valuable and interesting information on (risk) communication with regard to safe food and outbreaks, which is freely accessible on the WHO website.

Veg-i-Trade meeting report on results assessment on HSMS-DI and HAS

The report of the Veg-i-Trade meeting on results assessment on Horticultural Safety Management System diagnostic instrument (HSMS-DI) and Horticultural Assessment Sampling scheme (HAS) is now available. You can download it directly by clicking on the button below

Veg-i-Trade launches survey on fresh produce food safety & quality standards in the context of food sovereignty.

Food safety & quality standards and legislation play a key role for assuring food safety and quality in the global fresh produce supply chain. These food safety & quality standards and legislation have various implications on the functioning and organization of the fresh produce supply chain and their stakeholders, in particular for farmers.

One of the objectives of the EU FP7 project Veg-i-Trade, is to organize discussion forums on particular aspects of food sovereignty related to the global fresh produce supply chain. The outcome of the present survey will serve as one of the input elements for the round table discussions that will be organized in 2014.

If you have substantial knowledge of fresh produce food safety and quality standards and their impact and you also want to give your opinion, please click below to participate to the survey.


Check out the Veg-i-Trade website as of April 2013 for feed-back on the results of the survey.

Enthusiastic primary school students visit UGent Department Food Safety and Quality

In the frame of the UGent activities of the science week, 22 students from primary school Sint Paulus visited the Department food safety and quality at the bio-engineering faculty. The theme of the day “make the perfect fruit salad” linked closely to the research activities of the FP7 project Veg-i-Trade. The students discovered various techniques that allow to measure and optimize the microbiological and chemical quality of fruit salads. It was a nice day, both for the students and the UGent researchers.

PRIMAFLOR talks on benefits of Veg-i-Trade research for fresh produce industry at GLOBALGAP SUMMIT, Madrid, 6-8 November 2012

PRIMAFLOR located in Spain is an industrial partner within Veg-i-Trade with over 30 years history in growing, producing, marketing and distributing ready-to-eat horticultural products. Antonio Marhuenda from Primaflor presented his views on his engagement in Veg-i-Trade in close collaboration with research partner CSIC to increase safety and quality of fresh produce. He also discussed on his experience and perceived benefits for industrial partners such as PRIMAFLOR in implementing Veg-i-Trade tools on assessing food safety performance and sampling in the horticular sector.


Veg-i-Trade meets South-African tomato farmers, wholesalers, retailers and street vendors

During the summer of 2012, Chirag Swami, an Indian Master student of IUP Food Technology at UGent made a trip to South Africa to study the importance of food safety and quality standards in the tomatoes trade. This Master thesis was set up as a collaboration between Ghent University and the University of Pretoria team, both partners of Veg-i-Trade. Read more on Chirag’s activities in South Africa, interviewing tomato farmers, wholesalers, retailers and street vendors in report here (+ link).

Veg-i-Trade presents its work in Seoul, Korea at the Annual Symposium of the Korean Society of Food Hygiene and Safety. October 26th 2012

As a twinning with the Korean FDA sponsored Climate-food.net project, Veg-i-Trade also presented its approach on addressing food safety control against climate change in Seoul, Korea. Ca. 200 persons, senior microbiologists and young Ph.D students from various research institutes and universities as well as persons from the Ministry of Agriculture, KFDA, and the Consumer protection agency of Korea etc. participated to this Annual Symposium of the Korean Society of Food Hygiene and Safety. Many Korean and international speakers from US, Australia, Japan, Thailand presented at this one day conference with topics related to Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring, Nanotechnology for Rapid Detection of Pathogens, Pathogen Tracking Networks and Management of Foodborne Pathogens. Although various parts of the world were represented, and both presentations in Korean and English were given, it was clear that the food borne pathogens and associated problems of food borne illness by pathogenic E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter etc. are common to all of us around the world. International collaboration and exchange of research results to tackle these pathogens on an events such as this is very welcome.


Veg-i-Trade shares its insights on Water treatment & Sanitation with FreshFel Ad Hoc Working Group on Chemical Contaminants, October 2nd 2012

Following the recent incident involving the finding of Quaternary Ammonium Compound residues on fresh produce, studies were undertaken to find out the potential sources of (cross-) contamination with this chemical. As this also triggered more questions and uncertainties in regulatory issues of other less known categories of chemical contaminants e.g. biostimulants, sanitizers, biocides, plant protection products, the Freshfel secretariat decided to call a dedicated meeting to exchange some information between its members and a European Commission delegate. Veg-i-Trade, WP5, was invited to share its research results on water disinfection and give an introduction of the potential and limitations on the use of sanitizers for water treatment. The meeting contributed to clarification on these issues of technical processing aids. Overall lessons were drawn, also related to crisis management and this will help to prevent similar incidents with chemical contaminants in fresh produce in the future.

Veg-i-Trade enrolls activities in the East African Community

Since April to August, 2012, Jessica Nanyunja (Ph.D studnent at Veg-i-Trade partner UGent) has been in Uganda and Kenya conducting field surveys with the HSMS diagnostic instrument developed within WP 2 of Veg-i-Trade. In total, 60 farms were selected for participation in the food safety management system assessment: 30 farms in Kenya producing french green beans and 30 farms in Uganda involved in production of hot red peppers (each time 15 small scale and 15 big farms).

Veg-i-Trade in the news

Veg-i-Trade sent out a press release on the waste of fruits and vegetable in Europe on the 3rd of October (click here to see the press release). The press release has been broadly picked up by the media. In Belgium prof. Peter Ragaert and prof. Mieke Uyttendaele gave a lot of interviews on the radio, to newspapers, magazines and on the television news,… Some examples can be found below.

Veg-i-Trade stuurde op 3 oktober een persbericht de wereld in, over de verspilling van groenten en fruit in Europa (Klik hier om het persbericht te lezen). Het bericht werd door verschillende media opgepikt. In België gaven prof. Peter Ragaert en prof. Mieke Uyttendaele vele interviews op de radio, voor kranten, magazines en voor het nieuws op televisie. Enkele voorbeelden vindt u hieronder.

Headline in the news of National Belgian Television RTBF (French)

Topic in the news of VTM (Flemish broadcasting company) (Dutch)

Article on Forbes

Article on Science daily

Article on Food Products design

Article (in dutch) on De Morgen

Article (in dutch) on De Standaard

Article (in dutch) on Het Laatste Nieuws

Article (in dutch) on Het Nieuwsblad

Article (in dutch) on EOS

Article (in dutch) on Knack

Almost 50% of fruits and vegetables is not consumed in the EU

"Almost 50% of fruits and vegetables being produced in Europe are wasted throughout the entire food chain". This is the alarming statement of the latest press release issued by the Veg-i-Trade Consortium on 3 Oct 2012. 

The press release has been widely picked up by Belgian newspapers and some television stations. You can download the text by clicking on the link below. 

Veg-i-Trades shares research output at Food Micro 2012 in Istanbul

Some of the young scientists engaged in the Veg-i-Trade research have presented oral or poster presentations at Food Micro 2012. Topics dealt with i) sampling to gain insight into the microbial contamination with pathogens during primary production of lettuce; ii) potential cross-contamination of E. coli between lettuce and wash water simulating an industrial fresh-cut lettuce wash process; iii) chlorine as lettuce wash water disinfectant with respect to the physicochemical quality and the chemical safety; iv) the use of biopolymers and rapid sand filtration as physicochemical reconditioning technique for vegetable washing processes; and v) the survival of norovirus, murine norovirus 1, MS2 phage and E. coli in various types of water used for irrigation of fresh produce. These and many other posters by young Veg-i-Trade researchers at various conferences can be downloaded here

ILSI Europe Seminar on Assessing Safety of Water Used in the Production of Fresh Produce Stockholm

An international group of experts, including 3 Veg-i-Trade participants, identified the microbial food safety concerns of significance to fresh produce in different regions of the world, with particular focus on pathogens derived from contaminated production and processing waters. A session was organized by ILSI ‘s Working group on Water and Sanitation At the “World water week”, 26-30th August in Stockholm, Sweden. The work of the ILSI group was also presented at Food Micro 2012 in Istanbul by Veg-i-Trade coordinator Mieke Uyttendaele.


Veg-i-Trade takes part in the Danish Symposium on “Global Safety of Fresh produce”

An International Symposium on Global Safety of Fresh Produce was held on 16 August 2012 at Axelborg, Copenhagen, Denmark.Around 70 people participated in the symposium and it was a great success. Speakers from US, Brazil, China, Denmark and Veg-i-Trade presented and the session motivated international networking concerning innovative solutions to global safety of fresh produce.

Veg-i-Trade provides it views on Water sources and quality in the fresh produce supply chain at GlobalGap, Köln

Veg-i-Trade has presented the concept and research work in progress at Global Gap TC Crops in Köln June 19th. In particular some research output was shared on water as a resource, biological hazards, microbial guidelines, water treatment, risk-based decision making on the sources and quality of water to be used in fresh produce supply chain


Fresh-cut lettuce can be grown with 25% less irrigation water, saving up to €200 per hectare

Research performed by research project Veg-i-Trade has found that lettuce growers can reduce by 25% of the irrigation water used on the field. Using less water increases the shelf life of fresh-cut lettuce, reduces farming costs, improves sustainability and above all, anticipates the water scarcity due to climate change.



Meet and greet Veg-i-Trade in the Summer of 2012 at various conferences

“IAFP annual meeting”, July 22-25th, Rhode Island, US organized by the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) to provide food safety professionals worldwide with a forum to exchange information on protecting the food supply. Veg-i-Trade contributes to the session “Food Safety and International Trade: Opportunities and Challenges”.

“Global Safety of Fresh produce”, August 16th, Copenhagen, Denmark, a one day symposium organized by DTU-National Food Institute, Danish Horticulture, and Danish Agriculture & Food Council to discuss current issues on safety of fresh produce with an international audience of scientists, governments and stakeholders. Veg-i-Trade will contribute by presenting its work and providing its ideas on roadmaps to enhance safety of fresh produce in the EU and beyond.

The “World water week”, 26-30th August, Stockholm, Sweden is hosted and organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). Veg-i-Trade contributes with its work to presentations in the session organized by ILSI ‘s Working group on Water and Sanitation :“Assessing Safety of Water Used in the Production of Fresh Produce”.

“Food Micro 2012”, 3-7th September, Istanbul, Turkey, a biannual ICFMH related meeting, this year taking place in Istanbul on the topic of Global Issue in Food Microbiology. Veg-i-Trade has selected presentations in the Session Risk assessment and Consumer Safety.

Veg-i-Trade @ Europadag in Sint-Gillis Waas

The 6 May 2012, Veg-i-Trade participated at the project market from the “Europadag” in Sint-Gillis Waas (Belgium). This event was organized by the East-Flemish province government and aimed to present the activities from several European projects to inhabitants of East-Flanders.

“Europa is closer to you than you would think spontaneously”. With this slogan, the East-Flemish province government organized an event to inform the citizens of several projects that are (co)-funded by the European Union. The subjects of the projects were diverse such as public health, bio diversity, water treatment and also food safety. The event consisted of a cycling tour and a visit of the project market using “the GC route”. Via interactive demonstrations, project presentations, workshops and tastings, participants could discover what Europe does for its citizens. In this framework Veg-i-Trade has presented several of its research topics in an accessible way



Veg-i-Trade Workshop on “Norovirus in Raspberries” 27th March 2012

A workshop for individual producers of raspberries, associations, distributors, exporters, regulatory agencies and all other parties interested in the problem of potential contamination of raspberries with Norovirus was jointly by University of Belgrade and Ghent University at the IN Hotel, Belgrade, Serbia.






4th Veg-i-Trade Consortium Meeting - Belgrade, 28-30 March 2012

Veg-i-Trade organized its fourth Consortium Meeting in Belgrade. The meeting was hosted by the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Belgrade in Serbia. Representatives of the Veg-i-Trade partners and members of the Advisory Board discussed the achieved results and future plans. The meeting was preceded by a one day workshop on the food safety of raspberries.

Upcoming Veg-i-Trade and related events

During the next months, several Veg-i-Trade partners will organise workshops for food companies (farmers – processors – traders) regarding the performance measurement of their Horticultural Safety Management System, using the diagnostic instrument developed by Wageningen University and Ghent University.

CSIC (Murcia, Spain) will organise a workshop for lettuce producers and processors on 17th of February 2012.

Between the 26th of February and the 2nd of March 2012, a tour around Norway is planned by NVI and WUR to visit five lettuce farmers and one processor.

A workshop is organised on the 8th of March 2012 in Lokeren (Belgium) for Belgian processors and traders. Later on, a specific workshop will be organised for farmers in Belgium.


Finally, a workshop will be held in Wageningen (The Netherlands) on the 16th of March 2012 by Veg-i-Trade partners WUR.


If you wish to test the performance of your HSMS or to organise a workshop in your region, please contact Veg-i-Trade training manager Lisbeth Jacxsens.

Veg-i-Trade Workshop on Norovirus contamination.

On the occasion of the 4th Consortium meeting in Belgrade, Serbia, Veg-i-Trade partners University of Belgrade and Ghent University will co-organise a Workshop for stakeholders of the raspberry supply chain, focused on Norovirus contamination.

It will be held on Tuesday, 27th of March 2012 at the IN Hotel, Belgrade, Serbia, and will cover i) sampling strategies and detection methods for Norovirus and
ii) “best practices” and performance measurement of food safety management systems in production and processing of raspberries.

This workshop is public and free of charge, however registration is required. It will be in English and intended for individual producers of raspberries, associations, distributors, exporters, regulatory agencies and all other parties interested by the problem of potential contamination of raspberries with Norovirus.

For more information please contact:
Prof. dr Andreja Rajkovic, University of Belgrade
Email: arajkovic@agrif.bg.ac.rs
Phone: +32485409917

The first Veg-i-Trade results are published!

The first Veg-i-Trade periodic report has been submitted to the European Commission. During the first 16 months of activity (1st May 2010- 31st August 2011), Veg-i-Trade research has stimulated interest among a wide range of persons and stakeholder organisations. Some of the most significant results obtained so far are described in the Publishable Summary of the Veg-i-Trade report.

Brussels, 23 Nov 2011, Veg-i-Trade at the EC’s workshop on Research in the Area of Microbiological Risks

Veg-i-Trade presented its main achievements during a one-day workshop co-organised by DG Research and Innovation (DG RTD) and DG Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) from the European Commission (EC). The workshop aimed to inform the EC about the potential of EU projects to provide scientific data and information relevant for policy and regulatory needs. The scientific results of Veg-i-Trade and its dissemination activities to key stakeholders were highly appreciated by the participants of the workshop.


Brussels, 5 Oct 2011: Veg-i-Trade reflects on the E. coli O1O4 outbreak with Freshfel Europe!

On October 5th 2011 Veg-i-Trade was invited to Freshfel Europe, the forum for the European fresh fruits and vegetables chain, to share knowledge from the research and expertise within Veg-i-Trade and to reflect on the recent German E. coli O1O4 outbreak. The complexity of the identification of pathogenic E. coli was discussed. In addition the ability (or inability) for the establishment of testing regimes and challenges on further improvement of “best practices” in the fresh produce chain were presented.

Varna, Bulgaria, 27-29 Sep 2011: discussions on “sustainability in the fresh produce supply chains”

The 3rd MONIQA International Conference took place in Varna, Bulgaria, from 27-29 September 2011and brought together more than 150 participants from around the globe to discuss food safety issues and their impact on the consumer.In the session dedicated to Food Safety, Food Security and Climate, Mieke Uyttendaele (coordinator of Veg-i-Trade) presented on the “Impact of global food market and climate change on food sovereignty”.



Warsaw, Poland 8-9 Sep 2011: Veg-i-Trade launched discussions on “sustainability in the fresh produce supply chains”

The Conference„Food and nutrition in 21st century” took place in Warsaw, Poland and was attended by more than 450 participants from all over the Europe, representing the science communities, industry leaders, national and European S&T policy bodies and civil society.It was a flagship event organized within the framework of Polish Presidency of the EU Council, under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland, and in close collaboration with the European Commission.
During the debate major challenges to food security and safety as well as to nutrition and well being of European citizens were identified and the measures which shall be undertaken to mitigate them were proposed. In the session dedicated to “sustainability in the food chain”, the coordinator of Veg-i-Trade, Mieke Uyttendaele, presented the feedback of discussions with the Veg-i-Trade consortium on the “Impact of global food market and climate change on food sovereignty” and provided some inputs on the way forward for science to contribute to sustainable innovation and the EU 2020 strategy on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.



Ghent, 16-17 November 2011: european training of the HSMS-DI tool

A training course on "Horticultural Safety Management System diagnostic instrument (HSMS-DI)" has been organized by by Wageningen University in collaboration with Ghent University.The course will take place in Ghent on November 16th and 17th 2011.

Torino, 17-21 July 2011, ISHS Conference

The Second ISHS international Conference on Quality Management of Fresh Cut produce: Convenience Food for a Tasteful Life, took place in Torino, Italy, 17-21 July 2011.
With three oral presentations, Veg-i-Trade was prominently present at this international conference.


Ghent, 28 January 2011, Discussion forum "Dealing with Food Safety Issues in Fresh Produce", updated report available

A discussion forum on “Dealing with Food Safety Issues in Fresh Produce” was organised at Ghent University on January 28th 2011, linked to the 2nd Veg-i-Trade Consortium meeting that took place in Ghent in that month. This discussion forum was intended to provide a unique opportunity to explore the food safety experience of different stakeholders from the fresh produce supply chain. Participants included representatives from primary production, fresh produce processing industry, retail, research institutes and universities, consumer organisations and food safety authorities. Present and emerging food safety issues, challenges and control measures were identified, discussed and prioritised. The discussion has been captured and is summarized in the report.

Istanbul, 13 – 17 of July 2011, Veg-i-Trade @ IAMCR

The IAMCR (International Association for Media and Communication Research) conference took place in Istanbul (Turkey), from the 13th till the 17th of July 2011 and was hosted by the Kadir Has University. IAMCR is the worldwide professional organisation in the field of media and communication research.


Oslo, 6– 8 July 2011, third Veg-i-Trade Consortium Meeting

Representatives of the 23 Veg-i-Trade partners and the Veg-i-Trade Advisory Board attended the third Consortium meeting. It took place in the Norwegian Veterinary Institute (NVI) in Oslo, from the 6th until the 8th of July, 2011. The meeting was preceded by a one week Veg-i-Trade training course on microbiological methods and a one day training on Horticultural Assessment Schemes (HAS). After 1 year and 2 months of Veg-i-Trade, the progress of the Veg-i-Trade work package activities, collaborations and also the food sovereignty issue were discussed by the 51 participants.


Ghent University, August 22nd to December 2nd 2011, ITP training

After a first successful edition in 2009, for the second time an International Training Program on Food Safety, Quality Assurance and Risk analysis takes place from August 22nd to December to 2nd 2011 at the Faculty of Bio-Science Engineering at Ghent University in Belgium. The ITP Food Safety aims at transferring knowledge and skills in food safety issues (both microbiological and chemical hazards as well as physical hazards) and related legislation, assurance of food safety throughout the supply chain from farm to fork by good agricultural practices, hygiene implementation and HACCP, and supporting management by elaboration of risk assessment making the link between hazard control and consumer risk using knowledge based modeling.

May 2011: Veg-i-Trade in South Africa

Prof. Mieke Uyttendaele (Veg-i-Trade coordinator and food microbiologist) and Prof. Bruno De Meulenaer (leader of WP 8 - micotoxin risk assessment - and food chemist) of Ghent University visited the Veg-i-Trade South-African partners: the University of Pretoria (UP) and the Council for Scientific Research (CSIR) in Pretoria.

Ghent, 17 June, EHEC outbreak in Europe: Belgian consumers express their concern about the EHEC bacteria

The news coverage of the deadly EHEC bacteria outbreak in Europe came as a bombshell. Ghent University (Belgium) examined 6132 reactions of Belgian newspaper readers after reading the first news reports. As expected, people are scared and worried, but governmental trust decreases fear and leads to a higher intention to keep on eating fresh produce. Below are a few of the results from a research done by Melanie De Vocht, PhD student in Communications Sciences (UGent).


EHEC outbreak in Germany: Veg-­i-­Trade informs

Veg-i-Trade prepared a Fact Sheet with scientific background information on the EHEC outbreak in Germany.

Ede, 18-20 May 2011, Veg-i-Trade at IAFP Europe Conference-UPDATE

With four presentations and four posters, Veg-i-Trade was prominently present at the International Association for Food Protection’s (IAFP) European Symposium on Food Safety.
With ca. 200 attendants from academia, competent authorities, and industry of various countries worldwide, the IAFP Europe symposium in Ede provided an excellent forum to learn about the latest developments and techniques in food safety. Dr. Liesbeth Jacxsens (Veg-i-Trade WP 3 leader) presented Veg-i-Trade and the rationale for the selection of its case studies based on vulnerability of fresh produce items toward microbial and chemical hazards, climate change, trade flows and consumption patterns. Prof. Mieke Uyttendaele - (Veg-i-Trade Coordinator) chaired the session about Foodborne Viruses. She also gave a presentation about the ‘Food Safety Barometer’ developed by the Belgian food safety agency (part of the Advisory Board of Veg-i-Trade). Melanie De Vocht (Ph.D student of Veg-i-Trade WP 10 at UGent) presented the first results of a survey, conducted in November 2010, about food risk communication and the role of governmental trust. Also Inge Van Der Linden - Ph.D student at UGent and working on a Veg-i-Trade related topic at the Agricultural Research Institute (ILVO) in Melle, Belgium - presented her recent work on the survival of E. coli O157 and Salmonella in irrigation water and their subsequent survival on greenhouse grown lettuce. Inge was awarded with the price of best presenting young researcher at IAFP Ede...


Most presentations from the IAFP European Symposium on Food Safety recently held in Ede, The Netherlands meeting (including the presentations of the Veg-i-Trade speakers) are now available on the IAFP Web site. Presentations can be found at http://www.foodprotection.org/events/european-symposia/92/speaker-presentations/ under the menu option "Post Meeting Information".

Milwaukee, July 31-August 3rd 2011, Veg-i-Trade at IAFP US annual meeting- UPDATE

The International Association for Food Protection will hold IAFP 2011, July 31-August 3 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This year marks the 100-Year Anniversary for IAFP, which began as the International Association of Milk and Dairy Inspectors in Milwaukee in 1911. The Annual Meeting has become the leading meeting concerned with the protection of the worldwide food supply. Each meeting is attended by over 2,000 of the top industry, academic and government food safety professionals. It is the ideal forum to discuss on hot topic issues and new technologies in food safety. Safety of fresh produce is one of the major topics at the IAFP Annual meeting and thus several Veg-i-Trade partners will attend the meeting. Prof. Mieke Uyttendaele (Veg-i-Trade coordinator) will present at the Annual meeting the rationale for the selection of the Veg-i-Trade case studies and also will discuss the impact of Water Management in fresh produce processing industry on the prevalence and distribution of microbial contamination on fresh cut lettuce. Furthermore dr. Leen Baert and M.Sc Dan Li of the Ghent University will present state-of-the art on detection of viruses in fresh produce and the bottlenecks still associated with interpretation of RT-PCR test results in diagnosis of food borne viruses.

Belgrade, 1st of June 2011, Veg-i-Trade @ Serbia-regional platform for logistics and intermodal transport

On the conference “Serbia- regional platform for logistics and intermodal transport”, to be held in Belgrade, Serbia on the first of June 2011, Prof. Andreja Rajkovic will present Veg-i-Trade as part of the presentation “Climate stressors and cold-chain in fresh produce safety”.

Istanbul, 13-17 July 2011, Veg-i-Trade @ IAMCR conference

IAMCR (International Association for Media and Communication Research) is the worldwide professional organisation in the field of media and communication research. The focus of this year’s conference is “Cities, Connectivity and Creativity.” and will take place in Istanbul (Turkey) from 13 to 17 of July 2011. Veg-i-Trade will present the first experimental research on risk communication entitled: ‘How much threat should be relieved? The impact of an implicit or explicit low self-efficacy on food risk perception in a context of climate change and globalization’.

Oslo, June 27th –July 4th, Veg-i-Trade training course in microbiological methods

Between 27th June and July 4th, Veg-i-Trade organizes at Oslo a training course in microbiological methods. The main objective of the training course is to give hands-on training in methods for the detection and enumeration/quantification, when appropriate, of the target microorganisms that are included in the Veg-i-Trade project; bacterial fecal indicators (E. coli and enterococci), Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli O157 and non O157 VTEC, potential viral indicators (FRNA bacteriophages), Norovirus and protozoa (Cryptosporidium and Giardia).

Oslo, 5 of July, Veg-i-Trade Horticultural assessment Scheme (HAS) training

On 5th of July, Veg-i-Trade organizes at Oslo the Horticultural assessment Scheme (HAS) training. Horticultural Assessment Scheme (HAS) is a systematic approach in sampling and microbiological analysis developed in the frame of Veg-i-Trade for the fresh produce chain (farm, processing or trade level). HAS enables to obtain a helicopter view on microbial quality, hygiene and safety level of products and processes at primary production (farms) or at processing or trade companies.

Brussels, 29-30 March, Veg-i-Trade @ water Kick off meeting in Brussels : report & presentations

Veg-i-Trade has been invited by the ILSI Europe Emerging Microbiology Task Force to join and provide input from the Veg-i-Trade consortium to a new activity on ‘Water and Sanitation Perspectives’. This initiative was taken by ILSI Europe in collaboration with eight other ILSI branches (America, Brasil, India, Korea, South Africa, South-east Asia, Japan) and with the technical support of WHO and FAO.
Veg-i-Trade provided at the kick-off meeting in Brussels on 29-30th of March 2011 to the ILSI working group the Veg-i-Trade objectives (presentation of Veg-i-Trade coordinator Mieke Uyttendaele) and experiences in particular related to the use of water and the validation of water management as an increasingly critical point in the fresh produce supply chain (presentation of Veg-i-Trade WP 3 leader Liesbeth Jacxsens). Furthermore the research activities with regard to design and model efficiency of water treatment systems were discussed (presentation of Veg-i-Trade WP 5 leader Imca Sampers). Veg-i-Trade experts have engaged themselves to further contribute to the preparation of an ILSI document on Water and Sanitation, this in collaboration with a other experts from various countries and disciplines. The discussions in the ILSI working group will also provide valuable input to the Veg-i-Trade consortium and help to bench mark and provide added value to research activities going on in Veg-i-Trade



Oslo, 6-11 July 2011, Third Veg-i-Trade Consortium meeting

Representatives of the 23 Veg-i-Trade partners and the Veg-i-Trade Advisory board will attend the Third Consortium meeting from 6 to 11 July 2011 at the Norwegian
Veterinary Institute in Oslo,Norway. During this third meeting, results from the first year after the start of the Veg-i-Trade project will be presented, new strategic pathways will be explored and future Veg-i-Trade activities will be planned.

Ghent, 17 March 2011, Veg-i-Trade @Climate Day

Veg-i-Trade participated in the Climate Change day organized by the Faculty of Bio-Science Engineering (Ghent University).

Because of the awarding of the Ghent University honorary degree to Eric Wood, associated professor at the Princeton University, the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering has invited students, graduates, researchers, professionals and policymakers to a ‘Climate Change day' on March 17th 2011. This event gave the participants on the one hand an introduction into the research of professor Eric Wood on climate change, and on the other hand an overview of climate research performed by the faculty. In this framework Veg-i-Trade has presented several of its research topics in an accessible way.



Milwaukee, July 31-August 3rd 2011, Veg-i-Trade at IAFP US annual meeting

IAFP (International Association for Food Protection) organizes its annual meeting, focused on the protection of the worldwide food supply, in Milwaukee (US) from June 30th-July 3rd 2011. Veg-i-Trade will present its selected fresh produce supply chains for risk assessment studies. In addition research results with regard to detection of Norovirus in fresh produce and impact of water management in fresh produce processing industry on microbial contamination will be discussed.

Ede, 18-20 May 2011, Veg-i-Trade at IAFP Europe Conference

IAFP (International Association for Food Protection) organizes a European Symposium on Food Safety from May 18th to May 20th in Ede (the Netherlands). The symposium will provide an excellent forum to learn about the latest developments and techniques in food science and food safety. Veg-i-Trade will present the selection of its case studies based on vulnerability of fresh produce items toward microbial and chemical hazards and climate change, trade flows and consumption patterns and Veg-i-Trade partner countries’ priorities.

Brussels, 29-30 March 2011, Veg-i-Trade at the ILSI Kick-off meeting

The International Life Science Institute (ILSI Europe) Emerging Microbiological Issues Task Force identified water as an emerging global issue. The institute initiated a working group on assessing the safety of water use in the production of fresh and minimally processed produce. Veg-i-Trade will participate at the Kick-off meeting on 29th and 30th of March in Brussels (Belgium). It will provide support on identification of water sources and water quality used in the fresh produce supply chain, also support on integration of water as a critical control point in food safety management systems, on selection of water treatment techniques and furthermore on challenges of clean water in a global context with impacts of climate change.


Ghent, 28 January 2011, Veg-i-Trade Discussion forum “Dealing with food safety issues for fresh produce”

Following on the Veg-i-Trade consortium meeting, a discussion forum related to the safety of fresh produce was organized at the faculty of Bio-Science Engineering. Sixty-five stakeholders from the fresh produce chain participated and exchanged on opinions.


Ghent, 24-27 January 2011, Second Veg-i-Trade Consortium meeting

Representatives of the 23 Veg-i-Trade partners and the Veg-i-Trade Advisory board attended the Second Consortium meeting from 24 to 27 January 2011 at the Faculty of Bio-Science Engineering of Ghent University. During this second meeting, results from the first half year after the start of the Veg-i-Trade project were presented, new strategic pathways explored and future Veg-i-Trade activities planned.


Ghent,13-16 January 2011: Veg-i-Trade at Agriflanders

Veg-i-Trade was present at the fair Agriflanders in Ghent, Belgium ! This is a bi-annual fair for and by Flemish agricultural companies. Veg-i-Trade was visible in the innovation street, as a part of the stand of Food2Know of Ghent University.

Torino, 17-21 July 2011, ISHS Conference

The Second ISHS international Conference on Quality Management of Fresh Cut produce: Convenience Food for a Tasteful Life, will be held in Torino, the 17-21 July 2011.

Avignon,18-21 April 2011, Euro Mediterranean Symposium for Fruit and Vegetable Processing

Euro Mediterranean Symposium for Fruit and Vegetable Processing. This event will take place in Avignon, the 18-21 April 2011.

Ghent, 28th January 2011, Veg-i-Trade Discussion Forum "Dealing with food safety issues for fresh produce"

On January 28th 2011 a Discussion Forum “Dealing with food safety issues in fresh produce” is organized at Ghent University in the frame of the EU FP 7 Veg-i-Trade project as a satellite meeting to the 2nd Veg-i-Trade Consortium meeting in Ghent, Belgium. 

Ghent, 24-27 January 2010, Veg-i-Trade Consortium meeting

The Veg-i-Trade Consortium Meeting II will be held in Ghent, the 24-27 January 2010.  Veg-i-Trade Consortium meeting will include the General meeting and Board meeting but also dedicated working groups of the various Work Packages. To learn more click here

Ghent, 21-25 November 2010, Veg-i-Trade presented at the Horeca Expo

Veg-i-Trade has been represented at the Horeca Expo in Ghent. This is a trade fair for the hotel, restaurant, and catering (horeca) sector. Thanks to the centre of Excellence ‘Food2Know’ of Ghent University, Veg-i-Trade was able to attend. In the framework of the research on risk communication, a questionnaire has been filled out by 500 consumers.


Belgrade, 14th December 2010, Veg-i-Trade at the Faculty of Agriculture

The department of Food Safety and Food Quality Management represents the Faculty of Agriculture in the Veg-i-Trade project. The Department has organized in Belgrad a project meeting hosted by the Faculty of Agriculture and its Dean Prof. dr. Nebojsa Ralevic.

Berlin, 25-26 November 2010. Symposium "Globalised Trade - Safe Food"

You can learn more on this event by clicking on the box below.

Ghent, 28th September 2010, Veg-i-Trade Presented on Exchange Discussion Forum

Mieke Uyttendaele presented the objectives, challenges and expectations of the Veg-i-Trade project on the International conference Exchange on 28th of September 2010 in Ghent. On this forum day for open innovation for feed, food and health, scientists from industry and academia, producers, manufacturers, wholesalers, caterers, chefs, distributors, health care specialists and governing authorities exchanged on ideas.

Brussels, 23rd September 2010, Veg-i-Trade members visited “Early Market” and the European Center of Fruit and Vegetables

The Veg-i-Trade members from Belgium, visited the Early Market MaBru and the European Center of Fruit and Vegetables in Brussels on 23rd of September. Also the premises of Veg-i-Trade partners bvba Van Laethem and Allgro were visited. This excursion allowed the Veg-i-Traders to follow the flow of fruit and vegetables from import to processed and packed products in one day.



Murcia,14-17 June 2010, Veg-i-Trade Kick off meeting

Representatives of the 23 Veg-i-Trade partners and the Veg-i-Trade Advisory board participated to the
Kick off meeting from 14 to 17 June 2010. The meeting was organized by the Spanish partner CSIC in
Murcia, nearby el Mar Menor. The Kick off meeting complied to the objective of international
collaboration. The participants, having a diverse scientific background and expertise, contributed
actively to the discussions resulting in planning of future Veg-i-Trade activities.



Shangai, World Exposition 2010, Veg-i-Trade presented at Shanghai Expo

Mieke Uyttendaele launched the Veg-i-Trade project by the first public presentation on Veg-i-Trade on the seminar “Research for healthy life” at the World Exposition 2010 in Shanghai, China.