Several groups of viruses may infect persons after ingestion and then be spread via stool and vomit. Among these, norovirus (NoV) and hepatitis A virus (HAV) are recognised as the most important viral foodborne pathogens with regard to the number of outbr eaks and people affected. Outbreaks with NoV normally give rise to a great number of cases compared to other foodborne pathogens due to the susceptibility of population to NoV and a high rate of secondary infections. Although shellfish remains the main kn own source of NoV and HAV foodborne outbreaks, other types of foods, such as ready-to-eat foods, fruits and vegetables have increasingly been associated or incriminated as vehicles of virus transmission. The major efforts have so far been focussed on shel lfish and much less on water and soft fruits. Thus, the strategic objective of the proposal is to create tools and data for improvement of risk assessment related to human illness caused by viruses in water and soft fruits. The work will develop sampling strategies and "next-generation", quantitative laboratory tools necessary for risk assessments and design of intervention strategies. The proposal is approaching this through converting a current NKJ network, including all 5 Nordic countries, into a 3-yea r research project. The strong collaboration among the network partners obtained during the last 3 years and current knowledge and technologies in the consortium will form the foundation of the proposed work plan. The commodities selected, water and soft fruits, are important to the Nordic countries. The technological work will focus on simulated sample preparation models, quantitative RT-PCR, microarray sub-typing, virus survival/infectivity studies and decontamination methods. Furthermore, for the first -time, quantitative screening data will be generated in order to establish recommendations for effective surveillance and intervention strategies. A full-time PhD student will be hired by DTU for this project for exchange of strains, reagents, protocols a nd technologies among the project partners. The PhD student will spend one month in Finland, Sweden and Norway. A workshop is dedicated to the dissemination to regulators and food industry. The outcome will strengthen the Nordic influence on the European standards and risk assessments, and will contribute to improved food safety.