The Centre for Excellence in Agriculture and Food Integrity will develop innovative scientific-measurement solutions and digital technologies to help make supply chains more sustainable, reliable, safe, and productive, said the university.
The facility will also train current and future UK food and feed industry leaders.
Queen’s University Belfast and the National Measurement Laboratory (NML) at LGC Group are collaborating on the establishment of the centre, which will be based at the ASSET Technology Centre on that university’s campus.
Speaking at the launch, keynote speaker Sir Peter Kendall – a former President of the National Farmers’ Union (England and Wales) who led the recent Independent Strategic Review of the Northern Ireland Agri-Food Sector – said: "This partnership brings together two key institutions in the area of food integrity in these islands. The new Centre will ensure the most rigorous science and the latest digital technology and data are maximized, to catalyze a fit-for-purpose agrifood industry.”
Prof Nigel Scollan, director of Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen's University, said the new strategic partnership with NML will further enhance the capacity of that institute to support the delivery of safe and high-quality food and feed.
Feed and food fraud
The ASSET Technology Centre, outlined the university, has a distinguished track record in promoting food authenticity and detecting the fraudulent adulteration of food and feedstuffs. It was founded by Prof Chris Elliott, who led the UK government-commissioned review of food systems in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.
The NML, based at the LGC Group lab headquarters in Teddington, Middlesex, provides traceability for routine chemical and bio-measurement in the UK; it is focused on areas such as feed and food safety and security along with advanced therapeutics and medicinal diagnostics.
“The NML at LGC and Queen’s University Belfast have strong and highly complementary research environments,” said Prof Julian Braybrook, director of National Laboratories at LGC and UK government chemist. “By adopting a ‘One Health’ approach, the Centre will foster an interdisciplinary culture that facilitates innovation in scientific measurement and acceleration of impact to market through supported delivery of the UK government’s innovation, net zero and national food strategies.”