TU Dublin Researchers Join Europe-wide EIT Food’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Safety Project

17 Sep, 2020

Dr Maria Chiara Leva is working with a team from the School of Food Science and Environmental Health, which includes Dr Orla Cahill, Dr Uma Tiwari, Mr Greg Bruke, Mr Fintan Moran and Ms Sara Boyd, on a project funded under the EIT Food’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation.

Speaking about Safelivery, Dr Maria Chiara Leva, said, “The Environmental Sustainability & Health Institute alongside staff members from Food Safety and Health and Safety Master programmes at TU Dublin, are liaising with colleagues from the University of Bologna, Queen’s University, and an Italian SME called Aria on an idea initially ignited by Margo Gerevini from Tecnoalimenti S.C.p.A. who is also a leading partner in the project. Safelivery will develop innovative food delivery services and protocols to reduce the risk of surface and packaging contamination of “Ready to Eat Foods” with the COVID19 virus and other agents.”

Continuing, Dr Leva said, “Safelivery will address a range of safety gaps identified in the production and the delivery process of Ready to Eat foods by providing enhanced HACCP protocols to manage and control risks related to human factors and delivery conditions. The team is developing a method patent registered by Tecnoalimenti, including anti-tampering boxes with smart locks, which can only be opened with a key code and enhanced training for food handlers and delivery drivers.”

Other possible impacts of this project include the improvement of consumers’ confidence in food delivery and the collection of information on food and dietary choices during the COVID-19 crisis. As part of the EIT’s Crisis Response Initiative, this activity directly contributes to the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the leadership of EIT, EIT Food and its other Knowledge Innovation Communities (KICs) have been able to deploy these COVID-19 Response Calls at an unprecedented speed, ensuring that industries across Europe are being supported in their time of need.

The COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation was launched in May 2020 alongside the COVID-19 Bridge Fund, which was designed to support start-ups that have been adversely affected by the pandemic. The total available amount awarded to EIT Food is EUR 10.25 million for both funding opportunities. Implementation of projects started in early July 2020, a mere six weeks after the call was launched.

Dr Andy Zynga, CEO of EIT Food says an impressive number of high-quality applications were assessed as part of EIT Food’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation, and we are very pleased with the projects chosen. “They demonstrate the ingenuity and dedication of the agritech community in a time of great uncertainty and disruption, and we are as committed as ever before to supporting their resilience - as well as that of the wider European Food System. We look forward to the implementation of these urgently needed innovations to help the sector collectively respond to the pandemic and rebuild our economy sustainably.”

As part of the EIT’s Crisis Response Initiative, this activity directly contributes to the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.