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ALERTOX-NET (Atlantic Area Network for the Introduction of Innovative Toxicity Alert Systems for Safer Seafood Products) is an innovative collaborative project funded under Interreg Atlantic Area Priority 1: Stimulating Innovation and Competitiveness. The project is led by Professor Luis Botana and a team of scientists from the Farmatox research group, located at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), Lugo Campus, Spain.
This dynamic consortium comprises 11 partners spanning 5 countries and 7 regions within the Atlantic Area. Each partner brings unique expertise and capabilities essential for achieving the project’s objectives and generating impactful results. Together, this collaborative effort aims to advance innovation and enhance the safety of seafood products in the Atlantic Area.
ALERTOX-NET secured 2,179,626.00 € in funding, 2,179,626.00 € from Interreg, complemented by 726,542.00 € in national funds, dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research on marine toxins. The project was initiated in November 2017, and despite facing a necessary extension due to the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic, its activities successfully concluded in 2022.


What challenge does ALERTOX-NET aim to address?

Toxicity incidents in marine food processing carry significant economic implications for companies and the sector, with reported losses exceeding €670 million from 2000 to 2009 in Europe. These incidents not only impact the financial standing of businesses but also influence public opinion and consumer trust.

The project aims to translate basic research findings into technological and applied research. This involves raising industry awareness about the adverse effects of climate change on marine toxicity incidents and striving to deliver better and safer products during such occurrences along coastal areas. The consortium’s efforts will be concentrated on three main objectives: a) highlighting the negative impacts related to climate change on industries; b) demonstrating new and effective detection methods; and c) transferring these methods to the industry.

In practical terms, ALERTOX-NET is poised to offer cutting-edge techniques for detecting emerging toxins in a diverse range of marine products, benefiting various industries such as aquaculture and canning. The project addresses key challenges, including the novel climate change-related challenge across the Atlantic Area, emphasizing the need to ensure the delivery of safer products to consumers. Additionally, the project seeks to demonstrate the feasibility of toxicity detection methods for the affected industries. In summary, ALERTOX-NET serves as a strategic initiative to fortify the resilience and sustainability of industries while addressing the pressing challenges associated with marine toxicity incidents.

Overall Objective

The primary objective of ALERTOX-NET is to enhance the market delivery of safer marine food products by urgently integrating innovative toxicity alert systems into the value chain. The primary focus is on addressing emerging toxins, which are non-regulated marine toxins proliferating in the Atlantic Area due to climate change, posing risks to public health.

The system devised by ALERTOX-NET encompasses cost-effective, easy-to-understand detection, and alert methods, designed for seamless adoption by the industry. Additionally, the project will recommend a regulatory framework tailored for public agents, specifically addressing emerging toxins such as tetrodotoxins, palytoxins, and cyclic imines, owing to their associated risks.

ALERTOX-NET adopts a bottom-up approach, starting with on-the-ground demonstrations in affected industries and leading to collaboration with Administrations for the adaptation of regulations to the risks posed by emerging toxins.

The envisioned change is to provide better and easy-to-use detection and alert systems for emerging toxins. This not only equips industries to detect these toxins but also involves Public Administrations in ALERTOX-NET to drive essential regulatory changes, including adaptations to legislation, public controls, and consideration of toxins.

Furthermore, the alert system will be extended to toxins that are currently regulated. This is particularly beneficial for industries that may not be adequately informed or aware of these toxins and associated methods, ensuring they can offer better protected products to consumers. ALERTOX-NET strives for comprehensive protection and awareness, bridging the gap between industry practices and regulatory safeguards.