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Minister Smith Attends The European Federation of Food Science and Technology Conference

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today officially opened the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST) Food and Health conference at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin.  The conference will run from Wednesday to Friday of this week and a number of international experts in the fields of food and health will speak at the event on topics such as food nutrition and food safety. EFFoST is a non-profit association that federates food science and technology organisations within Europe.

The Minister expressed his appreciation to the organisers for choosing Ireland as the location for hosting the event and said that "Ireland was an appropriate choice for hosting the conference given that the food sector is Ireland's most important indigenous industry, a sector with long historic provenance and one which, today, collectively employs some 150,000 people with an annual output of over €24 billion".

The Minister spoke of the importance of research in the fields of food and health and outlined his Department's continued support for research and development.  He recalled how the Department, through the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) has invested a total of €140m in food research projects across the island of Ireland over the last 10 years almost half of which addressed the topic of food for health and nutrition. He added that "this funding has led to expertise, capability and facilities that have delivered functional ingredients and foods as well as techniques to validate nutritional claims in vitro and in vivo". He also reminded delegates how his "Department, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Children through the Heath Research Board, funded five research projects under the Food for Health Research Initiative (FHRI) in 2007.  The FHRI Programme, valued at €25m, builds on strategic state investment in research capacity over the past 15 years, maintaining Ireland's reputation as leaders in food and health research".

He recalled that acting on the priorities emerging from the Department's Industry-led Food Research Advisory Committee and the key recommendations in Food Harvest 2020, he "was able recently to announce a €10m call for research proposals across the three competitive  funding programmes (FIRM , Stimulus and COFORD)  operated by my Department covering food, agriculture & forestry respectively".  He indicated that the outputs of the research will provide the basis to deliver on a number of the growth targets outlined in the recently published Food Harvest 2020 report.

The Minister concluded by wishing the assembled guests a productive and positive exchange of views and hoped that "our overseas visitors enjoy their stay in Dublin and might even take the opportunity to travel further afield and witness for themselves the green splendor of Ireland - The Food Island".

 

Date Released: 10 November 2010