From September 2022 till Augusts 2023 the European Food Risk Assessment (EU-FORA) Fellowship Programme project “Development and testing of proteomics tools and databases for the species and tissue -specific identification of processed animal protein (PAP) in aquafeed” implemented is being implemented.

EFSA European Food Risk Assessment Scholarship Program 2022 (EU-FORA 2022) project  GP/EFSA/ENCO/2021/01-GA06, implemented by Ingus Pērkons, BIOR researcher of the Chemistry Laboratory mass spectrometry excellence group.

Program summary: The European Food Risk Assessment (EU-FORA) Fellowship Programme is a key initiative for ensuring preparedness for future risk analysis needs. The programme aims to increase the pool of food safety risk assessment experts available in Europe and stimulate the involvement of Member States in risk assessment work, all with the ultimate objective of building a common EU culture for risk assessment.

During the 12-month duration of the programme, the Fellow will (i) take part in training modules organized by EFSA aimed at broadening the Fellow's risk assessment competences and (ii) carry out a research project in collaboration with the hosting institution (Institute of Marine Research, Norway).

Short summary: With the currently occurring green shift in aquaculture and the envisaged focus on value creation from bio-based waste in circular economies (e.g. PAP and insect derived protein) new data gaps and challenges arise, which cannot any longer be addressed with classic analytical tools and regulatory paradigms. The development of novel methodologies and analytical tools to authenticate the species and tissue composition and origin of protein material is key to create data, which are fit for purpose for future food and feed safety risk assessments. In this context, mass spectrometry (MS) based proteomics methods are increasingly recognized as promising tools to complement current standard techniques for food and feed safety analyses.

For example, MS approaches already are being used in various applications including the tracing of prohibited substances in feed, detection of allergens, identification of individual fish species in complex fish meal mixtures and authentication of novel foods and alternative protein sources. The proposed EU-FORA work program will (i) train the fellow in the use of MS-based proteomics tools for feed and food safety analyses and (ii) contribute to the creation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for targeted, non-targeted and combined proteomic workflows for tissue and species-specific screening of feed samples for traceability assessments.