The Defra Food Authenticity Research Programme is supported by two independent expert advisory groups: the Authenticity Steering Group (ASG) that advises on the strategic direction of the programme and horizon scanning and the Authenticity Methods Working Group (AMWG) that assesses methods developed under the programme to ensure they are robust and fit for purpose. Membership of the two expert groups includes the FSA, representatives from trade associations, public analysts, consumer organisations and the research community. There is also a Technical Sub-Group of the AMWG which meets on an ad hoc basis to discuss new technologies and how they might be applied within the remit of the programme. This group comprises technical experts in various different fields from the research community.
As part of the Government response to the Elliott Review, The Authenticity Methods Working Group (AMWG) was asked to respond to Recommendation 4 on laboratory services carrying out food authenticity testing: Specifically (1) the standards of analysis; (2) the way in which sampling is conducted (e.g. general surveillance or risk-based sampling); and (3) the availability of laboratory services themselves. This led to the creation of the Virtual Food Authenticity Network and the acknowledgement of Centres of Expertise (CoE) in authenticity testing in line with the recommendations from the Elliott Review.
The Virtual Authenticity Network is overseen by the ASG to ensure that it is being developed as a tool not only for information on methodology, but also for experts in the field to discuss, interact and ask questions on existing or developing methodology.
The Terms of Reference for the two groups can be found at: