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FA COST Action 920
Foodborne Zoonoses: a Coordinated Food Chain Approach

Human infections arising from the contamination of foodstuffs originating from animals remain a significant public health and economic burden in Europe and much of the developed world. The human enteric infections caused by Salmonella and Campylobacter remain the most common.

The most effective and sustainable approach to controlling these pathogens is to ensure that all those involved in safe food production from the animal to the human patient regularly meet and exchange information so that sound evidence-based control policies can be developed. The main objective of COST Action 920 was to develop and improve the coordination and communication between experts in the different foodchain sectors in order to improve the coordination and control of foodborne pathogens.

COST 920 has been particularly successful in bringing together the veterinary, food and public health experts that gather information, the scientists that use this information to assess the various risks in the foodchain and the advisors and policy makers who are responsible for managing these risks through control measures and new policies. Meetings have included representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Office World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) who are important international bodies involved in improving food safety. COST 920 has also been invited to participate in WHO training workshops and provide scientific information to EFSA. In addition, the Chair was invited to present an overview of COST 920 at three international scientific conferences and was also invited to the New Zealand Embassy in London to present to New Zealand and Australian officials and scientists.

COST 920 has also been active in training and transferring expertise and technologies within the participating European countries. For example, recognised methods to differentiate and characterise the organisms that cause these diseases such as campylobacter and salmonella have been successfully transferred between countries. This is very important to ensure that the information from one country in Europe can be compared with data from the other countries.

Another very important success for COST 920 has been in helping to train scientists in risk assessment in those countries that lack the skills and expertise. For example, scientists from Hungary, Poland and Romania have been trained in the basics of risk assessment and are now using this knowledge to help to develop this expertise in their own country. Furthermore, COST 920 facilitated the first comprehensive inventory of quantitative microbiological risk assessments (QMRA) in Europe that is now published at: The list is expanding and the most recent revision of the inventory will be published in the proceedings of the final conference.

(Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.)

General Information*

Chair of the Action:

Prof Christopher THORNS (UK)

Science officer of the Action:


Administrative officer of the Action:

Mr Christophe PEETERS


Action Fact Sheet

Download AFS as .RTF

Memorandum of Understanding

Download MoU as PDF

Progress Report

Download Progress Report as PDF


Action website:

* content provided by e-COST.
Data is synchronised once per night.


Last updated: 02 May 2011 top of page