The Food Authenticity Network is a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) initiative to help bring together those involved in food authenticity testing.
The network aims to raise awareness of the tools available to check for mislabelling and food fraud and to ensure that the UK has access to a resilient network of laboratories providing fit for purpose testing to check for food authenticity so consumers can have confidence in the food they buy.
The Government committed to setting up a Network in response to Recommendation 4 of the Elliott Review into the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply which highlighted the need for standardised testing approaches. The creation of the Network will help bring together the UK’s expertise in a range of food authenticity testing techniques and ensure better collaboration and data sharing between all those with an interest.
The virtual network will be a one-stop-shop for anyone involved in food authenticity testing but will also be of interest to the food industry, government, academia, enforcers and consumers alike. With all the relevant material together in one place it will be much easier to access and disseminate information on methods and new techniques to the authenticity community while also helping facilitate communication and understanding between those working in the area.
The project will be overseen by Selvarani Elahi, the Deputy Government Chemist at LGC, while the day to day practical aspects of coordinating the Network will be done by Dr Mark Woolfe an experienced leader in the food authenticity area.
To ensure independence the work of the network will be overseen by a management committee, consisting of key stakeholders which will report to, and be guided by, the Government’s Authenticity Steering Group.