All Posts (580)

3887798641?profile=RESIZE_710xThere is a need for accurate methods to quantify meat species in meat products to check QUID (quantitive ingredient delarations). Chinese researchers have evaluated a real-time PCR method based on species-specific primers and probes from the mitochondrial cytb (cytochrome b) gene fragment for the identification and quantification of beef ingredient in commercial meat products. The method was developed and calibrated using three mixed matrices (pork, donkey and sheep with known proportions of beef, respectively). Results showed that the primers and probes were highly specific for beef in meat products, and the absolute detection limit of the real-time PCR method was 0.025 ng DNA, and the relative detection limit was 0.002% (w/w) of beef.  The assay was validated with 22 commercial beef products, of which 11 were salted, 10 were jerkies (dried) and one meatball, which were collected from local supermarkets. The results indicated the assay had a good stability in detecting and quantifying beef in the commercial samples.  

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3885569532?profile=RESIZE_710xThe US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued for consultation its third draft guidance to help the food industry defend against intentional adulteration, including by acts of terrorism as required under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This supplemental draft guidance document, when finalised, will help the food sector that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food,to comply with the requirements of the subsidiary Regulation “Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration.” The latest draft guidance has chapters covering “food defence corrective actions, food defence verification, re-analysis, and recordkeeping.” The first four chapters of the guidance were published in June 2018 and addressed how to set up a food defence plan and carry out vulnerability assessments, with preliminary guidance on mitigation. A second document published in March 2019 extended the information on vulnerability assessment and other topics including staff training. The consultation ends in June 2020.

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3877560624?profile=RESIZE_710x Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), has been the subject of many recent scandals of adulteration and fraud. Spanish researchers have proposed a new analytical platform by coupling electrospray ionisation (ESI) with differential mobility analysis (DMA), and mass spectrometry (MS) for the analysis of olive oils based on the information obtained from the chemical fingerprint (non-targeted analyses). Two approaches for preparing the olive oil samples were proposed: (i) sample dilution and (ii) liquid–liquid extraction (LLE). In order to test the feasibility of the method, 30 olive oil samples in 3 different categories (extra vigin -EVOO, virgin -VOO, lampante - LOO) were analysed, using 21 of them to elaborate the classification model and the remaining 9 to test it (blind samples). After applying chemometrics, the overall success rate of the classification to differentiate between the EVOO, VOO), and LOO was 89% for the LLE samples and 67% for the diluted samples. However, combining both methods, the ability to differentiate EVOO from lower-quality oils (VOO and LOO), and the edible oils (EVOO and VOO) from nonedible oil (LOO) was 100%. The results show that ESI-DMA-MS has potential to become an effective tool for the olive oil sector.

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3861050684?profile=RESIZE_710xThe rise in volumes and prices of grapes and wine has encouraged fraud and adulteration in the oenological field. One of the most common forms of adulteration, is the addition of sugar to grape must using cane, beet sugar, or syrups coming from vegetable sources like cereals or fruits. The OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine) has issued specific official isotopic methods to determine sugar adulteration, but they are not always effective. In this study by Italian researchers, they compared the δ13C value of sugars extracted from grape must analysed by EA-IRMS (elemental analysis - IRMS) with the δ13C value of proline analysed by GC-c-IRMS, after extraction and derivatization. δ13C and δ15N of proline have also been used as potential geographical markers. Also, the δ13C values of two characteristic grapes must sugars (myo and scyllo – inositol) was measured by GC-c-IRMS after derivatization. The results indicated that the compound specific isotope analysis represents a novel analytical tool to support and improve certification and control procedures of wine making.

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3861016247?profile=RESIZE_710xHoney is one of the most adulterated foods by addition of sugar syrups. Most if not all commercial honeys derive from the nectar of C3 plants. Sugar syrups derived from cane sugar or maize, which are C4 plants. The accepted standard method to check C4 sugar adulteration, is to determine the δ¹³C (C13/C12 ratio) by SIRA mass spectrometry.  Honeys that are tested with a δ¹³C value of -23.5 and lower are deemed to be pure. Honeys that have a δ¹³C value between -23.5 and -21.5, fall into a grey area. Honeys that have a δ¹³C of -21.5 or higher are deemed to be adulterated. However, false positives of syrup adulteration may occur if the bees have been collecting nectar from C4 plants, and hence low level adulteration is difficult to detect. This review discusses the background to testing honey by SIRA, and the limitations of this method.

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The European Council has adopted conclusions on further steps to improve ways of tackling and deterring fraudulent practices in the agro-food chain.

In its conclusions the Council recalls that a high level of protection is an overall objective of EU policies concerning health, safety, environmental protection and consumer protection, and recognises that the current EU legal framework on tackling food fraud is adequate.

The Council nonetheless emphasises the need for continuous and improved cross-sectorial cooperation to fight against food fraud. This cooperation should include not only food and feed control authorities, but also authorities involved in the fight against financial crime and tax, customs, police, prosecution and other law enforcement authorities. In relation to this, the Council calls upon the Commission and member states to allocate adequate resources to ensure effective implementation of existing EU legislation by improving the shared understanding of the criteria determining food fraud.

3859201797?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Council also stresses the need to promote awareness-raising among consumers and to continue to broaden training on countering food-fraud.

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3858759111?profile=RESIZE_710xProf. Ellen Billett has posted the results of two small 'snapshot' studies in 2014 and 2019 on undeclared offal in mincemeat and burgers/kebabs etc. under the General Discussion tab on the website. These studies arose from the methods developed to detect lung, heart, kidney and liver in meat products under the Food Authenticity Programme, and one of which is reported in the Methods (SOPs - FA0122) section of the website.

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The UK Code of Practic for Basmati Rice was revised in 2017 to include 26 new varieties of Basmati developed by Indian and Pakistani plant breeders. This study by Eurofins reports the analysis of the DNA fingerprints of these cultivars using authentic samples from official sources to enable the authentication the new Basmati varieties. Results not only allow the enforcement of the revised CoP, but provide further insights into the genetic relationships between the varieties and their descended relationship with landrace and other hybrid varieties. The study also examined the genotype fgr, which is regarded as important for producing Basmati aroma, and this was found missing in 6 of the new varieties. It is not the only functional polymorphism associated with fragrance of rice and the content of aroma in these new varieties, so the study concludes that  these 6 varieties should be studied and further requirements should be defined, including the organoleptic characteristics of Basmati.

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3843236670?profile=RESIZE_710xFIIN was established in 2015, in response to the Elliott Review on the horsemeat incident, with the aim of ensuring the integrity of food supply chains through the collection, analysis and sharing of intelligence. It has more than doubled its membership from the original 21 members when it was established. Since reporting first commenced, FIIN has collated over 250,000 product authenticity test results, which have been analysed and disseminated between members to provide valuable insight and intelligence. 25% of the current membership represents companies with a turnover of £100 million or less, who greatly benefit from this pooling of combined resources and data. The Network has also signed agreements with Food Standards Scotland (FSS), the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) National Food Crime Unit, and Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to establish two-way pipelines of information exchange. Prof. Chris Elliott (photo) is a FIIN board member and independent advisor, and states that “food crime is an ongoing and rising threat, but in my opinion the UK is now the best-placed country in the world to fight back".  

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3830643970?profile=RESIZE_710xTunisian company CHO, which is one of the largest olive oil producers in the southern Mediterranean has introduced blockchain technology to assure the integrity of its brand Terra Delyssa extra virgin olive oil. CHO is the latest major food company to join IBM’S Food Trust Network. The blockchain will track Terra Delyssa across eight quality assurance checkpoints, including the orchard where the olives were grown, the mill where olives were crushed, and the production facilities where the oil was filtered, bottled and distributed.

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3823828176?profile=RESIZE_710xThis review provides general information about olive oil and the possible causes of adul­teration, mislabelling, counterfeiting, and fraud of the product. It reviews the possible adulterants in olive oil, the underly­ing causes of adulteration, and how to test for the pres­ence of these adulterants. Data on trade and market dynamics are included. Also, the review focuses primarily on current deceptive practices in the global olive oil trade rather than historical adul­terations.

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3822242868?profile=RESIZE_710xIndian researchers have developed a PCR method based using 3 different primers on the mitochondrial gene 12S rRNA. The method produces a cow specific amplicon (346bp) and a buffalo specific amplicon (220bp). The method can detect 0.5% addition of buffalo milk to cow milk. Although this test has been used in India to determine buffalo milk adulteration of cow milk, it could be adapted to determine cow milk adulteration of buffalo milk e.g. in the case of mozzarella cheese.

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Managing the Risk of Fraud in the Spice Industry

2018414?profile=RESIZE_710xJill Hoffman, McCormick &Co, outlines all the steps companies dealing with the spice trade can take to mitigate fraud. This includes a fraud assessment management system, a vulnerability assessment, and actions such as analytical testing to address any vulnerability. All of these are incorporated into a food fraud management programme, which admittedly may take some time to mature..

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3820997074?profile=RESIZE_710xThe FDA has launched its Food Defense Plan Builder (FDPB) Version 2.0 software programme, which is a user-friendly tool, designed to help owners and operators of food facilities create a detailed food defence plan specific to their facility and products. It is designed to assist food operators with meeting the requirements of the Mitigation Strategies to Prevent Food Against Intentional Adulteration regulation (21 CFR Part 121) (IA rule). The software provides a simple-to-use, fill-in-the-blanks system that—when finished—can generate a complete report that is consistent with FDA’s existing regulations and guidance on food defence. While the finished report that the software generates does not constitute FDA approval of a food defence plan, the tool certainly goes a long way in helping a processor organise, create and document a detailed food defence program and strategy.

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3817388095?profile=RESIZE_710xAlthough infrared (IR) spectroscopy is often used as a simple and rapid method to screen for economically motivated adulteration in spices, conventional microscopy remains the reference method. In this research, micro-FTIR imaging, along with PCA (Principle Component Analysis) were used in combination with microscopy to develop a non-targeted method for detecting a broad range of organic and mineral bulking agents that could potentially be used to adulterate black pepper. The method has been validated, and the results are classed as typical or atypical, where the latter indicates a high probablity of adulteration, and is followed up with a multitool investigational approach for the detection and identification of the potential adulterant.

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3820840016?profile=RESIZE_710xASK restaurant chain was fined £40,000 in Swansea Magistrate Court  on 14 January for misleadingly describing one of their dishes - "Aragosta e Gamberoni" (lobster and king prawns). The lobster component of the dish was a reformed product containing only 35% lobster with white fish protein and white fish. Sales of the dish amounted to £3m across the UK since it was launched in 2014, though the charge spanned the period between 1 December 2016 and 20 March 2019 - when Swansea Trading Standards alerted ASK and removed the dish from its menu.

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3817380870?profile=RESIZE_710xIn order to verify labelling compliance and evaluate the existence of fraudulent practices, 250 sausage samples were purchased from local markets in Sichuan Province and analysed for the presence of DNA from chicken, pork, beef, duck and genetically modified soybean using real-time and end-point PCR methods. In total, 74.4% (186) of the samples were properly labelled, while the other 25.6% (64) were mislabelled and potentially adulterated samples.The most common mislabelling was the undeclared addition of, or contamination with, duck meat, which is cheaper than pork or chicken.  

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3817313276?profile=RESIZE_710xSmoked salmon is a high value product, and it is misleading to consumers if it is sold chilled but has been previously frozen/thawed. Italian researchers prepared three groups of products each with 36 samples - Group A stored chilled, Group B frozen at −18°C for 30 days, and Group C stored at −3°C for 30 days. Histological slides of all the samples were prepared, and given to two experienced microscopists as blind samples, who were able to accurately distinguish between chilled and previously frozen/thawed smoked salmon.

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A USDA National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which requires US food manufacturers and importers to label food for retail sale disclosing information about its GMO content, becomes mandatory on 1 January 2022. Although the US food industry has two years to implement the new rule, a deadline of 1 January 2020 is when food manufacturers have to decide whether and how they will need to make GM ingredient disclosures, and what records they will be required to keep. The new rule does not cover foods, which are highly refined e.g. vegetable oils, where the GM DNA is not detectable, and small companies with less than US$ 2.5 million sales are exempt from disclosure.

3465109688?profile=RESIZE_710xHowever, many larger US companies are awaiting the US Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to issue guidelines on how the new rule will be enforced, and what will be required. AMS is committed to provide two different sets of instructions for use by food manufacturers, importers and certain retailers. The first set of instructions, released on 17 December 2019, covers how companies can validate or verify the accuracy of a refining process to render bioengineered material undetectable. AMS is taking comments on the draft instructions until 16 January 2020. AMS will publish a second set of instructions to provide guidance for companies on how to select testing methods to determine whether a food product or ingredient contains detectable levels of GM genetic material. 

There is flexibility as to how GM foods are disclosed.Companies with annual sales of more than US $2.5 million can use digital codes, list BE ingredients in text on their label, put one of two BE symbols on their packaging, or supply consumers with a number they can text to receive information via their cellphone. In addition to these, companies with $2.5 million to $10 million in annual revenues can also disclose via a website or a phone number that consumers can call to hear the disclosure. Industry sources say they expect most companies to disclose GM ingredients via digital codes, such as the SmartLabel system. 

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3816977698?profile=RESIZE_710xAuthorities in Spain and Portugal, coordinated by Europol, have uncovered what they are calling a criminal network involving contaminated clams that were responsible for the food poisoning of at least 27 individuals in Spain. The investigation into the trafficking of contaminated clams resulted in dismantling this criminal network involving poachers, intermediaries and distribution companies, and the location of hideouts where harvested clams were stored in Portugal. The criminal network was active for at least a year earning up to €9 million with more than 1 000 tonnes of illegally caught clams. The illegal clams were harvested in Portugal, and then moved to Spain for the most lucrative seasons – the summer and the end-of-the-year holidays. After a brief clean up, the contaminated clams were sold in markets and restaurants. Washing the clams eleminated the bacteria (E. coli), but did not eliminate the viruses (Norovirus genogroup I and II and Hepatitis A). 

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