RAFA 22 to be held live in Prague for all in the food science industry

The 10th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Food Analysis (RAFA 2022 – www.rafa2022.eu) will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, from 6-9 September this year. Food Engineering & Ingredients speaks to the organisers about the event and to find out what is in store for those attending it.

Food Engineering & Ingredients: RAFA 22 will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, from 6-9 September this year. Can you give us a bit of background about the event? RAFA: The RAFA organisers are the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, (UCT Prague, Czech Republic) <https://uapv. vscht.cz/?jazyk=en> and Wageningen Food Safety Research (WFSR), <https://www.wur.nl/en/Research-Results/Research-Institutes/ food-safety-research.htm> part of Wageningen University & Research (The Netherlands). The conference is chaired by Prof. Jana Hajslova, Prof. Michel Nielen and Dr Stefan van Leeuwen, who are affiliated with the respective organisers.

RAFA was established in 2003 with the aim of filling the gap in the field of progressive techniques in food analysis and to support networking of experts in the food analysis community. Although there were a number of symposia focused on analytical issues, their scope was quite broad, thus the community did not have an opportunity for targeted interaction.

From the beginning, this event series was – and still is – primarily dedicated to food scientists from academia, representatives of industry, national and international agencies, control authorities, governmental and commercial laboratories.  FEI: How much has the event grown over the years?  RAFA: RAFA has grown since it was launched in 2003. Previous events were usually attended by more than 750 participants from more than 50 countries of Europe, Asia, America, Australia and Africa, and supported by more than 50 sponsors, exhibitors and media partners. In 2021, due to the pandemic, a special shorter virtual event highlighting trends and views in food analysis was organised for free to keep the RAFA community together. This event was attended by 1650 participants from 88 countries.

FEI: Can you describe what elements make up the event?
RAFA: RAFA is traditionally held over four days. It is composed of scientific sessions addressing recent challenges in food analysis, satellite workshops and seminars, vendor seminars and an exhibition.

FEI: What can attendees expect from this year’s event?

RAFA: RAFA 2022 will offer again a high-quality scientific programme with expert presentations followed by stimulating discussions, a series of satellite events, state-of-the-art exhibition and an attractive social programme. Scientific contributions will be presented by leading scientists through keynote lectures and by contributed oral and poster presentations. The RAFA 2022 programme will be tailored to provide a lot of opportunities for networking as well as exploration of the latest results of the food analysis community.

A platform for young scientists will be offered to present their scientific work. Typically 20% of the contributed oral presentations are assigned to the next generation of scientists. RAFA 2022 Student Travel Grants will be provided. The best poster presentation(s) by a young scientist(s) will be awarded with the prestigious RAFA Poster Award and sponsored poster award(s).

The RAFA 2022 symposium will provide an overview of contemporary trends in analytical & bioanalytical strategies in food quality and safety control and will discuss challenges and novel approaches in food and natural products analysis. The following recent and emerging issues will be addressed within the RAFA 2022 sessions: • Multi-omics in food analysis; Food fraud, forensics and authenticity; Organic crops & foodstuffs; Bioactivity determination and identification; Micro- and nano-plastics in food; Human biomonitoring and exposure assessment; Portable on-site food analysis; Food legislation and food control; QA/QC, chemometrics & big data handling; Mycotoxins, marine and plant toxins in a changing climate; Process induced contaminants; Pesticide & veterinary drug residues; Environmental contaminants; Emerging alternative proteins: allergens and other issues; Metals, metalloids & speciation; Healthy nutrients & vitamins; Cannabinoids in food and supplements; Flavours in food engineering.

In addition, the conference programme will be accompanied by several satellite events on novel analytical strategies, including for example workshops on “Vibrational spectroscopy and chemometrics” and “Analysis of contaminants & migrants in circular food production”. Another session will include a tutorial on “Data quality and smart data handling in food analysis”. An interactive seminar will discuss “Step by step strategies for fast development of smart analytical methods”. The EU Reference Laboratories Colloquium will include a workshop on “Experiences, achievements and challenges addressed by EU Reference Laboratories”.

Vendor seminars will be organised by leading companies to introduce recent instrumentation and analytical strategies for advanced food quality and safety control. An exhibition of modern instruments, laboratory equipment, reference materials, and consumables used in food analysis will be also an important part of the symposium.

FEI: Will there be any restrictions post-Covid, this year?
RAFA: RAFA organisers do not assume any restrictions, but strongly recommend that participants follow the up-to-date entry rules to the Czech Republic.