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GRACED – Plasmo-photonic Bimodal multiplexing sensor platforms for food quality monitoring 

As consumer demand for fresh fruits and vegetables continues to increase, so does the risk of microbiological and chemical contamination. Fresh produce remains the leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks. In 2018, EU Member States reported 5,146 foodborne outbreaks, most of them associated with fresh produce. The open nature of the fresh produce chain means that contamination can be introduced at various points in production, harvesting and processing, and then passed to the consumer. New solutions are required to ensure early detection of contamination in fresh produce, throughout the lifetime and value chain, avoiding contamination of the final consumer and minimizing food wastage. GRACED considers the need and the limitations of current techniques and proposes a solution.

The heart is a novel plasmo-photonic bimodal interferometric sensor, combined with low cost on-chip light generation, capable of simultaneously and quickly detecting different analytes of interest. The sensor will be part of holistic, modular solution that exploits unique engineering designs, IoT concepts and advanced data analytics, for the early detection of contaminations in the value chain.

It is an application-driven project that aims to not only cover the existing gaps in such control activities, by replacing laboratory analysis with a field-use device but will also act as innovation driver: GRACED technology has the potential to revolutionise the way that analysis are performed today, due the speed and quality of the analysis, enabling even new -stricter- regulations and additional points of control in the value chains. The possibility to perform quick and accurate controls in all stages of the farm-to-fork value chains is directly linked to the objectives of the European Farm-to-Fork strategy.

In this EU project, EGM is responsible for the WP5, developing the sDSS and data analytics platform. EGM is also the technical partner in support of the two French pilots on short food chain and urban farming. Of course, they are involved in all specifications preparation, system integration and validation activities, as well as in the dissemination and exploitation planning and implementation.