Medicinal and aromatic plants are offered in a wide variety of products on the market such us: plant extracts, traditional herbal medicines, pharmaceuticals, homeopathic, medicinal and herbal teas, dietary supplements, spices and culinary herbs, fragrances and perfumes, cosmetics and body care, food and beverage, food ingredients, aromas and essences/air wicks, colouring/dye agents, etc. The enormous demand in herbs results in a huge trade from local to international/European level.
EU is the main market for pharmaceutical ingredients, and cover 36% of the global production of pharmaceutics. About 2000 species are used in EU for medicinal purposes; the main trade markets are Germany, the main importer, processor and trader with medicinal plants, are France and Italy. Among the East-European countries Poland, Bulgaria, Check Republic, Hungary and Romania are the main markets; about 1200-1300 species are harvested from wild flora and only 130 species are cultivated in EU. Spain has an increasing demand for pharmaceuticals of plant/natural origin being itself an important producer of medicinal and aromatic plants. In Portugal and Slovakia herbs production are being increasingly relevant.
Related to this market, food security and, especially, food safety has to be assured against a lot of hazards that can be appear along the food chain such as chemical contaminants coming from the environment and microbiological contamination. Contamination can occur also during food processing when the good manufacturing practices are not well implemented. Herbs food chain is a very dynamic process in terms of legislation, new scientific evidences and new knowledge that has to be disseminated to all stakeholders.
Along this chain, 3 types of products will be taken into consideration – spices, natural food ingredients and food supplements. It can be approached different, in 2 groups, spices and natural food ingredients one group and food supplements the second one. If for the first group the problems are more related to food safety considering food contamination, the second group has another important issue that has to be considered: plant species authenticity, secondary metabolites stability, toxic compounds, additional fillers, and adulteration.
The main objective of the project is to educate, train, inform and disseminate the latest/new scientific evidences, legislation in force, hygienic rules as well as the best manufacturing practices of herbs in order to ensure the quality, safety, nutritive and functional quality, useful for food and food supplements industries. In this way it will be increased the opportunities of professional development and improve the professional competence, cooperation and competitiveness.
In order to have the best audience and the most appropriate learning/teaching approach there will be taken into account the following specific objectives:
- Organization: finding the existing best practices in training/learning and analysis the actual context in 3 domains: food spices, natural food ingredients and food supplements;
- Motivation: stimulation of adult interest and motivation for continuous learning, upgrade of previous knowledge, new information, new skills and competence;
- Adaptation: training adapting to different audience categories – SMEs employees, NGOs, adults from urban or rural areas, people in different socio-economic and cultural environments, young and seniors so on, who are working with herbs;
- Innovation: using the creative thinking of trainers for courses design and deliver of teaching – use the academia professionals/researchers as trainers and discover the most innovative ways/methods for teaching and efficient learning; innovative strategies/approaches/ and teaching practices;
- Facilitation: facilitating of adult learners to participate to collaborative learning and practical demonstration, to have new learning opportunities for good manufacturing practices (learning Kits; using social media; on-line learning; developing ICT competences);
- Atraction: the training will be designed and delivered in an inspirited ways, aiming to become accessible, interesting, attractive and fun for participants by using demonstrations, pictures, video recordings/movies, links to internet, exchange of experiences;
- Orientation: to face changes/adapt to new challenge, improving of individual options/level of qualification/position in the organization, development of the new competences according to the students’ needs as well as to the new rules and regulation/ in conformity with legislation in force.
The target groups envisaged are adult learners, VET students, professors, teachers, trainers and educational and administrative ff staff employed at participating organizations.
The key outcomes of the project will be presented along the project development and include:
Report on analysis of actual context on herb processing: research reports for each country and a final integrated one will be elaborated. The conclusions extracted will be the basis for the Course Specification.
Curriculum on herbs processing for food spices, natural food ingredients and food supplements.
Training kits: learning/training kits will consist in 3 courses in herb processing according to those 3 main parts of the curriculum already established and also a training guide for future trainers.
e-Good Herbs platform: an e-platform will be built after completion of the courses in order to have much more impact to the chosen target groups.
Curriculum, courses and training kits functional and available to the target groups.
Training and Dissemination events will take place along the Project.
Relevant documentations and reports produced will be presented in this section along the project implementation.
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