Food analysis specialist Central Science Laboratory (CSL), an executive agency of the UK government Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, is co-ordinating a five-year European project to develop efficient traceability methods and systems for enhancing the safety and quality of food commodities in Europe.

The €19m (US$25.2m) TRACE project begins in January 2005 and will involve 50 European organisations and one from China. The project aims to develop traceability methods and systems that will provide consumers with added confidence in the authenticity of European food.

"At present supply chain management systems are being developed, but often in isolation of work being done on methods of analysis that can verify the origin of food. Integration of such methods into traceability systems will provide an infrastructure that will make it easier to verify the origin of the food," said TRACE co-ordinator Paul Brereton.