Food chain quality given Royal launch
13 December 2012
A major new scientific collaboration between East Malling Research (EMR) and the University of Greenwich (UoG) was launched today by HRH The Duke of Kent KG on a visit to EMR.
Ensuring food security and minimising waste throughout the supply chain will be a critical issue for fresh produce supply over the next decade. The Produce Quality Centre (PQC), which receives funding from the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), combines the technical expertise of both organisations to achieve these objectives with EMR focused on temperate crops and the University's Natural Resources Institute (NRI) on tropical crops, and utilises the world-class research storage facilities at EMR.
The focus of the PQC is on optimising both pre-harvest and postharvest factors to improve the storage and quality of produce throughout the supply chain (i.e. from producer to plate), in order to increase consumer choice, improve energy and transport efficiency, improve quality and nutrition, reduce waste and extend availability.
"At a time when food security is gaining an ever higher position on the political agenda, it is a great step forward that these teams can join their considerable forces on common issues", commented EMR Chief Executive Prof Peter Gregory. He continued, "By focussing the widest range of horticultural expertise and post-harvest research facilities assembled in the UK, we can improve quality and reduce losses for a wide range of temperate and tropical fruits, vegetables and cut flowers, develop best practice and troubleshoot problems in the supply chain."
Commenting on the launch, Professor Andrew Westby, Director of NRI, said, "The Natural Resources Institute and East Malling Research have long shared a strong collaborative working partnership. This launch today is great recognition that our science, and the application of that science, has a strong future as we strive to deliver high quality produce to the consumer over the coming 30 years."
At the heart of the PQC is the Jim Mount Building, the UK's leading controlled atmosphere (CA) research storage facility, but the collaboration also benefits from a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities across EMR and the University of Greenwich.
On-going and recent projects at the PQC are funded by BBSRC, Defra, the agricultural levy bodies and numerous commercial clients, including most of the major retailers.
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BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £500M (2012-2013), we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.