This collaborative project aims to develop analyses and services to guarantee the authenticity and integrity of organic food products. It will be deployed over five and a half years and has a total budget of 17.3 million euros. To support this effort to find partners, more than 8 million euros will be provided by the Future Investment Program (PIA), led by the General Secretariat for Investment (SGPI), operated by Bpifrance on behalf of the State.
TOFoo is a project led by a solid consortium with complementary know-how. The 10 partners involved will each bring their specific skills to the project: analysis laboratory (Eurofins), analysis instrument companies (Thermo Fisher Scientific and Myriade), digital company (Atol C&D), food company (Bonduelle), academic institutions (the GEPEA laboratories and CEISAM of the University of Nantes, the UniLaSalle Polytechnic Institute and the Organic Agriculture Research Group). In addition to the new analyses that will be set up, each partner will contribute to the emergence of new solutions and (i) the development of portable devices for rapid in situ analysis, (ii) the improvement of the performance of laboratory equipment with emerging technologies and (iii) the constitution and exploitation of databases of several thousand samples thanks to innovative statistical treatments at the crossroads of "big data" and artificial intelligence.
UniLaSalle, represented by its research unit Processing & Agro-Ressouces (URL 7519), is taking the leadership of Work Package 2 (WP2) entitled "Chemometrics and Data Fusion" by aggregating the skills of Christophe Cordella (Pr., Université Laval, Québec), Dominique Bertrand (Former Research Director, INRAE), Yannick Louvet (ATOL C&D) and several other internal experts (Céline Leridon, Philippe Jacolot, Mohammed Elrhab). Animated by Lyès Lakhal (Dr.) with the support of Thierry Aussenac (Dr., HDR), Director of URL 7519, the WP2 is in charge of several missions.
The main mission is the development of artificial intelligence algorithms trained with the data provided by the different analytical laboratories, representing the analytical fingerprint of food products. The training of these algorithms will allow them to recognize authentic organic products in order to protect the organic sector against fraud and to reassure consumers. These algorithms and databases will then be integrated into a large-scale software solution.
Another important task in this work package is the development of BIG DATA tools for the storage and processing of massive data for which conventional IT solutions are no longer applicable.
Finally, at the apex of this ambitious and structuring project, a research collaboration agreement was signed during the month of July 2020 between the Université de Laval Québec (Department of Food Sciences - Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences) and the Institut Polytechnique UniLaSalle (Transformations & Agro-Resources Unit - URL7519) with the ambition to amplify this scientific partnership on the contribution of multivariate data processing methodologies.