The Norwegian Research Council granted approval to GenØk’s FOODPRINT project


The Norwegian Research Council granted approval to GenØk’s project called “FOODPRINT: Traceability and labelling of gene-edited products in the food chain”. The Principal Coordinator Dr. Sarah Agapito has received 12 mi NOK for the four years project to be developed in collaboration with researchers from Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Lebanon and Brazil.

The FOODPRINT project develops research on gene-editing detection in the context of traceability and labelling of genetically modified (GM) products throughout the food chain. Gene editing is a novel technique of genetic modification that is currently being regulated under the European Union (EU) Directive 2001/18/EC (ECJ, 2018), a debate which is not completely closed in Norway (Borge, 2018).

The project is dedicated to generating scientific and technical data that can expand the knowledge base for decision-making, enhance food safety, and expand sustainability and competitiveness within the sector through the efficient identification and segregation of GM and non-GM food sources. It is also relevant for society’s ability to address the key societal challenge of making informed food choices.

Particularly, the project focuses on the thematic priority area of “Agriculture and Food” (Sustainable and efficient production systems and value chains in conventional and ecological agriculture; and Know-how to help with development within biotechnology – including the collection, analysis and utilization of large amounts of data; with additional relevance to the priority theme of “Food safety” throughout the entire food value chain.

It will develop measures to be used to meet the UN sustainable development Goal #2 – Zero Hunger, Goal #13 -Climate Action, and Goal #15: Biodiversity, Forests and Desertification. The project is also relevant for the value creation based on healthy and safe Norwegian food, a demand that has triggered a political framework called Food Nation Norway involving three food ministers (Minister for Agriculture and Food, Minister for the Elderly and for Public Health and Minister of Fisheries).

This project will generate knowledge that will offer technically and economically feasible options for multiple stakeholders, such as the industry, civil society organizations and regulators on traceability and labelling of gene-edited products through a Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) framework, and with potential impact to Norway and all EU member States as well as their trade partner countries. The project comprehends the active participation of stakeholders from academia, industry and regulatory agencies in Europe and Brazil. Therefore, including aspects of the entire food chain, from exporter to importer territories, including suppliers from GM and non-GM food chains.