The JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE (JRC (the European Commission's in-house science service)) supported DG SANTE (Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety) in the organisation of coordinated EU monitoring plans to assess the authenticity of fish and honey purchased in the European Union. The outcome of the study confirms the need for further testing and control.
Prevention of fraud in the agri-food chain and promotion of authentic products is a major element to ensure the commercial success of European high-value agri-food products on the internal and international markets. Fraudulent activities such as mis-description of food or extension of genuine products with cheaper substitutes will negatively impact on consumer's trust and the competitiveness and profitability of honest producers in the EU.
In this respect, DG SANTE - with the scientific support of the JRC-Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) – organised coordinated control plans across the EU Member States to detect fraud in the fish and honey markets.
Member states' laboratories analysed nearly 4000 samples of white fish and 2200 samples of honey. The JRC-IRMM supplied them with information regarding testing methodology to detect mislabelling of fish species and also provided quality control samples for fish analysis. The monitoring study revealed that 6 % of the tested fish samples did not conform to the labelled species. Preliminary results are now also available for the tested honey samples: in total, 19 % did not comply with the marketing standard for honey. Approximately half of the samples already analysed in the Member States are currently re-analysed by the JRC-IRMM by using isotopic ratio mass spectrometry to detect the potential addition of certain sugar syrups to honey, which cannot be detected by conventional methods of analysis. The end results of the coordinated control plan for honey will be available before summer 2016.