A shift in attitudes of both consumers and producers is required if society's expectations of food and agricultural policy are to be met, EU Commissioner David Byrne for Health and Consumer Protection said this week . Speaking at a round table with leading farming representatives, food producers, retailers, consumer experts and scientists in London this week Byrne emphasised that a strategic re-thinking of food production and food policy was essential to drive forward changes in food safety policy. "Food safety research is absolutely crucial if we are to develop the technological means to address known and unknown safety concerns. It must be carried out to the highest and most rigorous standards, including ethical standards. Similarly, it must be validated in appropriate reference laboratories and peer reviewed." The debate comes as food quality is increasingly a subject of concern as consumer expectations appear mismatched with what the market is providing. The Round Table debate looks at local, regional, national, EU-wide and global food production systems and their impact on producers and consumers. The objective is to identify issues requiring further investigation and debate, to understand the driving forces behind consumer and producer behaviour in terms of price versus quality, and the increasing emphasis on ethical values such as the environment, animal health and welfare, and social responsibility. The round table in London is part of an EU wide initiative launched by Commissioners Fischler and Byrne in March this year. Similar Round Table's have already taken place over the past few months in Stockholm, Berlin, Dublin, Vienna, Paris, Brussels and Athens. Further discussions in other EU capitals are planned.