THE NETHERLANDS, Wageningen. Wageningen University & Research (WUR) coordinates two European Union research projects over the next few years. The multi-million euro projects are part of Horizon 2020, the largest EU research programme.
The mEATquality project (€ 6 mill.) will research the links between animal welfare and meat quality. MINAGRIS (€ 7 mill.) will look at the presence and hazards of microplastics in agricultural soils. For both projects, WUR will be coordinating researchers and stakeholders all over Europe.
Project coordinator Hans Spoolder (Wageningen Livestock Research) at mEATquality said: “We want to know whether the meat from pigs and chickens in extensive livestock systems tastes better than meat from intensive livestock systems, for example because the animals can move around more or are given different feed.” The researchers will also try to establish whether the origin of the meat can be fully traced. “There’s a lot of money in organic livestock. If you can see exactly where a product was made, you can combat fraud.”
“In the MINAGRIS project we will be working in 12 European countries to see which microplastics are found in various agricultural systems, and in what quantities,” says project coordinator Violette Geissen, Professor of Soil Physics and Land Management. “We will then look at the consequences this has on soil ecosystems, and whether there are alternatives to the use of plastics in agriculture.”