Project at a glance
Approval date: August 15, 2012 / Project management: Santiago Pascual
PARASITE project aims to provide new scientific evidence and technological developments to detect, monitor, and mitigate impacts of parasites occurring in European and imported fishery products. PARASITE will address the research needs identified by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) regarding the risk of seafood borne parasites. It also will facilitate a close cooperation between scientists and end-users to produce new technological solutions and management tools for both European and imported fishery products.
The project work plan has been organized in 9 work packages (WP), each one covering different stages of a risk assessment framework. Planned activities include providing new epidemiological data, monitoring tools and development and implementation of parasite detection devices, and, finally, the design of tools and strategies for the mitigation of their impact. These will be achieved by improving molecular hazard identification, antigen/allergen characterization, parasite exposure assessment, detection methods and by basing an integrated quantitative risk analysis on powerful statistics and modelling. Moreover, the Work Plan also includes a strategy for dissemination of key results to all stakeholders, and specific actions aiming an early uptake of results by the industry.
WP1. ADMINISTRATIVE PROJECT MANAGEMENT
WP1 aims at performing an operative administrative project management by implementing the most appropriate tools and means to guarantee a fluent exchange of information and an efficient and transparent decision-making process, ensuring an efficient project reporting and a satisfactory accomplishment of the workplan.
The leading partner for this WP is IIM-CSIC
WP2. PARASITE EXPOSURE ASSESSMENT
WP2 aims at providing comprehensive and comparable epidemiological data, regarding zoonotic parasites in fish stocks originating from major European fishing grounds and mapping zoonotic parasites in various fish product imports on relevant European seafood markets.
The leading partner for this WP is NIFES
WP3. SAMPLE AND DATA MANAGEMENT
This work package focuses in developing and providing the tools for an appropriate management of samples. This includes the provision of suitable management tools for traceable and high-quality storage samples to be used in diagnosis, trials and experimental challenges within the project; the implementation of a biobank for zoonotic parasites in fishery products and, finally, the implementation of a computer-aided epidemiological geo-referenced database for zoonotic parasites in fish stocks and products marketed in Europe.
The leading partner for this WP is IIM-CSIC.
WP4. HAZARD IDENTIFICATION
This work package aims at using genetic markers to identify and characterise species and populations of zoonotic nematode parasites in infected fish, cephalopods species and seafood products from different geographical areas. This will be achieved through the development of new genetic markers for genotyping Anisakis species, the establishment of “DNA barcodes” using genes and designed primers/probes and the gathering of genetic variability data of parasite populations. This data will be correlated to the infestation levels in order to set scientific bases for molecular epidemiological studies of each parasite species and their populations in different geographical areas.
The leading partner for this WP is UT-URT
WP5. HAZARD CHARACTERIZATION
WP5 aims to determinate the allergenic capacity of other parasites capable of infect the muscle of fish after migration from the coelomic cavity, apart from Anisakis spp. but belonging to the Family Anisakidae. Also the capacities to induce sensitization after oral administration, whether untreated or heat-treated, and the specificity to be recognized by antibodies presented in sera from fish-eating people will be determined. Anisakis spp. allergens in fishery products and allergens (or potential allergens) in samples of anisakids from different regions will be detected in this WP, together with the characterisation of cellular and humoural immune responses to anisakid antigens.
The leading partner for this WP is SERMAS
WP6. IMPROVEMENT OF DETECTION METHODS
This workpackage aims at improving visual, ultraviolet and molecular inspection methods for detection of parasites of human health significance in fishery products, making them usable by seafood industry, research bodies and sanitary authorities.
The leading partner for this WP is ISS
WP7. INTERVENTIONS IN THE FOOD CHAIN TO REDUCE RISK
WP7 focuses in the assessment of the viability and infectivity of anisakids in seafood commercial products under different treatments and conditions, in order to design optimal treatments for the inactivation of anisakids in fishery products. The provision of evidences on the interactions between parasites and bacteria in the flesh of post-harvest fish under different storage conditions, and the development of specific treatments to reduce or inactivate the allergenic capacity of anisakids will be used to finally develop an on-board prototype to kill zoonotic anisakids in fish offals.
The leading partner for this WP is CSIC-ICTAN
WP8. QUANTITATIVE RISK ANALYSIS
This workpackage focuses in summarizing, analyzing and predicting consumer exposure to fish parasites through statistical modelling of patterns and trends in the incidence of zoonotic parasites in main commercial fish species and seafood products. It includes the development of a dynamic framework to integrate the estimates on parasite infestation and genetic variability, as a means to predict the parasite abundance in commercial fish species and seafood products. Moreover, the collation and analysis of available data on the incidence of parasite infections in humans will be use to build up a general picture of the geographical and temporal patterns, and identify hotspots. The workpackage particularly focuses on the probability of illness from parasites associated with the consumption of raw or partially cooked seafood products, to estimate the effectiveness of proposed risk mitigation strategies and undertake quantitative risk assessments.
The definition and evaluation of Cost/Benefit scenarios on the application of treatments and tools for policy - makers and food producers – will be based on modelling the consumer willingness to pay for treatments to reduce the incidence of parasites in fish products.
The leading partner for this WP is UNIABDN
WP9. INNOVATION, COMMUNICATION AND DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES
The workpackage 9 aims at effectively spreading the knowledge achieved and disseminating the results to scientific bodies, policy - makers at European, national and regional scope, industry, consumers and civil society. This includes the communication of the risks associated with fish / seafood parasites targeted in the project, increasing transparency, enhancing the benefits of fish consumption and explaining the measures and possible paths and tools to tackle such risks, to finally reinforce the seafood industry’s competitiveness by improving its skills and capacity, to use the project results and implement strategies to tackle parasite-related risks.
The leading partner for this WP is CETMAR