Nantes, 04/11/2020 Download the pdf

Eurofins, a world’s leading provider of analytical services and a pioneer in food authenticity testing since its creation, announces the launch of the TOFoo (True Organic Food) project. In collaboration with five industrial partners from the food, laboratory analysis and digital sectors, as well as four academic institutions, this project aims to develop analyses and services to guarantee the authenticity and integrity of organic food products. It will be deployed over five and a half years with a total budget of €17.3 million. To support this research effort, more than €8 million will be provided by the Programme d’investissements d’avenir (PIA), steered by the Secrétariat général for investment (SGPI), operated by Bpifrance on behalf of the Government.

Development of state-of-the-art analytical techniques

The new solutions developed within the framework of the TOFoo project will enable all the players in the sector (producers, food manufacturers, distributors, certification bodies and public authorities) to: guarantee compliance with authorised practices throughout the organic production chain, strengthen the means of protection put in place in the sector, protect the virtuous economic players in this market and support the dynamism of the French organic players in the export market.

In concrete terms, innovative authenticity analyses will be developed within the framework of the project in order to ensure the broadest possible control of the sector. These will include methods that collect the overall analytical footprint of products and verify their “organic” character (“non-targeted” approach), but also methods for the identification of non-organic food additives and the characterisation of manufactured nanoparticles. They will be applied to plant products (fruit, vegetables, cereals) and dairy products. In-situ analyses will complement these laboratory analyses, allowing rapid and frequent checks to be carried out directly on industrial or distribution sites. Carried out via handheld analytical devices, they will be designed to provide pre-alerts on product integrity, to be confirmed by laboratory methods.

Avoiding a crisis of consumer confidence in organic food

Despite strict specifications, European regulations and a certification system for operators, the organic farming sector remains vulnerable to practices that call into question the compliance of products with organic specifications. Also, the current means of control have their limits, whether it be traceability, certification or physico-chemical analyses According to the 2018 Barometer of the Agence Bio, more than 60% of consumers have doubts about the authenticity of organic products. Thus, better analytical tools capable of demonstrating the compliance of organic food could be a solution to reassure stakeholders and consumers.

A project supported by a solid consortium with complementary expertise.

The 10 partners will each bring their specific skills to the project: analytical laboratory (Eurofins), analytical instrument companies (Thermo Fisher Scientific and Myriade), digital company (Atol C&D), agri-food company (Bonduelle), academic institutions (the GEPEA and CEISAM laboratories of the University of Nantes, the UniLaSalle Polytechnic Institute and the Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture Biologique). In addition to the new analyses developed, each partner will thus contribute to the emergence of new solutions: development of portable devices for rapid in situ analysis, improvement of the performance of laboratory equipment with emerging technologies, constitution and exploitation of databases of several thousand samples thanks to innovative statistical processing at the crossroads of “big data” and artificial intelligence.

Eurofins, whose origins lie in authenticity testing over 30 years ago, is proud to lead this cutting-edge scientific project to ensure the integrity of organic food production. The experts at Eurofins’ historic campus in Nantes are fully committed to developing innovative non-targeted testing methods and thus continue to work towards safe, healthy, authentic and responsible food.

Michel Daigney, Head of the Chemicals and Environment sector at Bpifrance, said : « We are pleased to participate in the launch of the TOFoo project which will support the organic sector from production to distribution. Now more than ever, it is essential to strengthen the attractiveness of organic labels through a consolidated quality image and tangible evidence. The project is supported by a solid consortium with complementary know-how and is based on a groundbreaking scientific approach in the field, particularly with regard to the search for specific analytical fingerprints for organic products. »

Media contacts

Eurofins : Telephone : +33 (0)2 51 83 21 07
Bpifrance : ; Telephone : +33 (01) 45 65 51 62
Secrétariat général pour l’investissement ; Telephone : +33 (0)1 42 75 64 58

Notes for the editor:

About Eurofins:

Eurofins – a world leader in bioanalysis
Eurofins Scientific together with its direct and indirect subsidiaries (hereinafter referred to as “Eurofins” or “the Group”) believes that it is the world leader in food and pharmaceutical testing, environmental analysis and contract research services for agricultural companies, and to be one of the leading independent providers of laboratory testing services in the fields of genomics, predictive pharmacology, forensic analysis, Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO) services, advanced materials testing and clinical trial support. In addition, Eurofins is one of the key emerging players in the field of clinical specialty diagnostics in Europe and the USA. With 50,000 staff in more than 800 laboratories across 50 countries, Eurofins offers a portfolio of over 200,000 reliable analytical methods for evaluating the safety, identity, traceability, composition, authenticity, origin and purity of biological substances and many products, as well as in the most innovative clinical diagnosis. The Group’s objective is to provide its clients with high quality analytical services, reliable and timely results and consultancy services from highly qualified experts. Eurofins plans to pursue a dynamic development strategy based on the continuous expansion of its technology portfolio and geographical presence. Through R&D programmes and acquisitions, the group integrates the latest scientific developments in the field of biotechnology and analytical chemistry, thus being able to offer its customers an unrivalled set of analytical solutions and the most comprehensive range of analytical methods. As one of the most innovative international players in the industry, Eurofins is ideally positioned to meet the ever-increasing quality and safety requirements of its customers and regulators around the world.

Eurofins Scientific shares are listed on the Paris Stock Exchange (ISIN FR0000038259, Reuters EUFI.PA, Bloomberg ERF : FP).

About Bpifrance:

Bpifrance finances companies – at every stage of their development – with credit, guarantees and equity. Bpifrance supports them in their innovation and international projects. Bpifrance also ensures their export activity through a wide range of products. Advice, university, networking and an acceleration programme for start-ups, SMEs and ETIs are also part of Bpifrance offer to entrepreneurs. Thanks to Bpifrance and its 50 regional offices, entrepreneurs benefit from a close, single and efficient contact to help them face their challenges.
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About the Programme d’investissements d’avenir:

The €57 billion Programme d’investissements d’avenir (PIA), managed by the Secrétariat général pour l’investissement (SGPI), was set up by the Government to finance innovative and promising investments across the country, in order to enable France to increase its growth and employment potential. This €10 billion future investment programme is part of the €57 billion Grand Plan d’Investissement (GPI) launched by the Government in 2017 and carried out throughout a five-year period, in order to support structural reforms and respond to four major challenges facing France: carbon neutrality, access to employment, competitiveness through innovation and the digital State.
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