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Food fraud threatens food safety, public health, and the effective functioning of market forces in the food sector. The EU co-funded project WATSON aims to reduce the risk and frequency of this type of fraud in the European market.

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Photo: Leonardo Gonzalez/ SHutterstock

WATSON provides a methodological framework combined with a set of tools and systems that can detect and prevent fraudulent activities throughout the whole food chain thus accelerating the deployment of transparency solutions in the EU food systems.

The proposed framework will improve sustainability of food chains by increasing food safety and reducing food fraud through systemic innovations that:

  • increase transparency in food supply chains through improved track-and-trace mechanisms containing accurate, time-relevant and untampered information for the food product throughout its whole journey
  • equip authorities and policy makers with data, knowledge and insights in order to have the complete situational awareness of the food chain
  • raise the consumer awareness on food safety and value, leading to the adoption of healthier lifestyles (mid-term) and the development of sustainable (and greener) food ecosystems.

The foreseen results will be demonstrated and extensively tested in six complementary use cases including the:

  • prevention of counterfeit wine
  • preservation of the authenticity of PGI honey
  • on-site authenticity check and traceability of extra virgin olive oil
  • the identification of possible manipulations at all stages of the meat chain
  • the improved traceability of high-value products in cereal and dairy chain
  • combat of white fish counterfeiting.

For each use case, WATSON will target end-to-end traceability, revealing connections and dependencies between the different phases and food products, create the projection in national level and EU level and along with the data acquired by each MS provide a holistic approach on the ways food fraud can be significantly reduced. In addition, WATSON, will replicate its results in additional EU countries.

Funding: Co-funded by the European Commission
Partners: 44 partners in 19 different countries

Key Factors

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