The e-FoodLab project is inspired by the fact that food quality, security and safety, are high priority issues in our society. The food supply chain is a primary economic driver. Innovative information technology is crucial for transparent food research, intelligent food production and well-informed consumers.
The ICT-challenge of e-FoodLab is to generate and disclose semantically enriched content in the area of food and food production for research, industry and consumers, while minimizing human effort for creating and accessing this information. The underlying data is highly distributed and heterogeneous. Given the complexity of the food sector, transparency can only be achieved with advanced ICT tools that incorporate expert knowledge.
This requires the creation of formal vocabularies called ontologies (terminological networks for organizing information) that are specific for the food sector, and a way to supply and retrieve meaningful information. We identify three questions: How can experts in the field of food and food production be supported in creating dedicated ontologies? How can food data be annotated such that it can be shared and reused? How can users create and retrieve information in their specific context?
We focus on minimizing the effort required to provide semantically rich data, currently a laborious and expensive activity. In this project we combine expert knowledge and automatic data processing to solve this problem.
In 2012 major results have been achieved with respect to the different COMMIT/dimensions. Two e-FoodLab results were nominated for a Science Valorization Award at the National ICT~ Awards. The jury stated that our approach is an innovation in the scientific process itself. Another achievement worthy of mention is that the Syntens Innovation Centre and the Dutch Chamber of Commerce have successfully used ROC+ (Rapid Ontology Construction), a result from e-FoodLab, to create ontologies which allow them to send their clients information alerts from the Internet which are matched to their unique needs.