EN: The PhytoAuthent project adheres to the health and food theme of the EEA call and addresses current ambiguity in the herbal dietary supplements market in Romania. The project uses a complex and integrative multidisciplinary approach to covering all aspects from legal framework, manufacturing process, suppliers, and consumers to safety issues and authentication.

The European Economic Area (EEA) lacks a central public institution to test the composition of herbal products and to verify ingredient claims included on the label. In the USA, consumerlab.org performs independent tests on commercially available dietary supplements and makes its findings available for an administrative fee. Scientific literature has reported several cases of adulteration and counterfeiting of such products, and the results of most studies imply that substitution occurs widely. This raises serious concerns on ethics, safety and efficacy. In addition, unrestricted sale and access and the lack of medical oversight to dietary supplements hampers quality monitoring.

Romania is both a major consumer and exporter of raw materials and processed supplements, and it is therefore extremely important to make a comprehensive and critical evaluation of its herbal dietary supplements industry in order to identify its vulnerabilities and to develop models for improved regulation. The European Union directives on food safety and takes into consideration consumer rights to make informed choices about the products they use, and fair and accurate labelling of products is an essential part of that.

This project involves local SME herbal producers with the aim of taking a participatory and integrated approach to gain understanding of the challenges and manufacturing process of quality dietary supplements. Different product authentication methods exists, and this project will research, screen and evaluate the accuracy, reliability, effort and cost of these methods for 5 selected medicinal plant cases. The focus will be on new and innovative methods using chemical analysis, DNA barcoding and metabarcoding using next generation sequencing. The project is based on herbal industry knowledge needs, as aims to yield higher quality standards at equal production costs.

RESULTS (documents in English)





RO: Proiectul PhytoAuthent adera la tema santate si alimentatie a apelului EEA, si se adreseaza ambiguitatii curente existente in randul suplimentelor alimentare pe baza de plante de pe piata din Romania. Proiectul utilizeaza o abordare multidisciplinara, complexa si integratoare care acopera aspecte incepand de la cadrul legal, procesul de fabricatie, furnizori si consumatori, pana la problemele de securitate si autentificare. Spatiul Economic European (SEE), nu detine o institutie publica centrala pentru a testa compozitia produselor pe baza de plante si pentru a verifica ingredientele incluse pe eticheta. In Statele Unite ale Americii, consumerlab.org efectueaza teste independente suplimentelor alimentare disponibile în comert și face disponibile constatarile sale pentru o taxa administrativa. In literatura de specialitate au fost raportate mai multe cazuri de falsificare si contrafacere a unor astfel de produse iar rezultatele celor mai multe studii arata faptul ca substitutiile au loc pe scara larga. Acest lucru ridica ingrijorari serioase de etica, siguranta si eficacitate. In plus, vanzarea si accesul fara restrictii, precum si lipsa supravegherii medicale in cazul suplimentelor alimentare impiedica monitorizarea calitatii acestora. Romania reprezinta atat un important consumator cat si exportator de materii prime si suplimente prelucrate, fiind, prin urmare, extrem de importanta realizarea unei evaluari cuprinzatoare si critice a industriei  suplimentelor sale alimentare pe baza de plante, pentru a identifica vulnerabilitatile sale si pentru a dezvolta modele pentru un regulament imbunatatit. Directivele Uniunii Europeane privind siguranta alimentara iau in considerare drepturile consumatorilor de a face alegeri in cunostinta de cauza cu privire la produsele pe care le folosesc, si etichetarea corecta si exacta a produselor este o parte esentiala a acesteia. Acest proiect implică IMM-urile locale, producatoare de plante, cu scopul de a avea o abordare participativa si integrata, pentru obtinerea unei bune intelegeri a provocarilor si a procesului de fabricatie a suplimentelor alimentare de calitate. Exista diferite metode de autentificare a produselor, iar acest proiect va cerceta si evalua acuratetea, fiabilitatea, efortul si costul acestor metode, utilizand  5 cazuri selectate de plante medicinale. Accentul va fi pus pe metode noi si inovatoare utilizand analize chimice, ADN-barcoding si metabarcoding, folosind secventierea de noua generatie. Proiectul se bazeaza pe nevoia de cunostinte in sectorul industriei plantelor, care are ca scop producerea la standarde de calitate mai ridicate la aceleasi costurile de productie.
REZULTATE (documente in romana)