defra (4)

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The modern food industry is fast moving with complex supply chains that utilises a wide variety of analytical tools to support food integrity and authenticity. Devices that allow diagnostic tests to be performed at or near the point of need, often termed Point-of-contact (POC), represent a growing area within the food sector with the potential to provide real-time monitoring of input materials and the production process. POC devices can range from handheld spectroscopic devices such as Raman and FT-IR instruments to desktop portable systems such as compact mass spectrometry and NMR systems.

A questionnaire looking at POC testing in the food sector has been devised by LGC as part of a Defra funded project (FA0178: Point of Contact Testing) tasked with investigating the application of POC technology to food authenticity testing. The questionnaire is targeted at individuals involved in the food and associated diagnostics sectors, including primary production, supply and manufacturing.

The project team would greatly appreciate your participation in this questionnaire, which will directly help inform the direction of the project and contribute to guidance within the sector.

POC Questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/J8L8N3X

We thank you in advance for your assistance and kindly request that the survey is completed by Friday 31st July 2020.

Kind regards

Food Authenticity Network Executive Management Team

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European standardisation in the field of food and feed contributes to improving levels of food safety and protecting the health of consumers. CEN (European Committee for Standardization) provides validated test methods that are used by the food industry and by the competent public authorities for official control purposes and by food- and feed-producing companies for internal checks. 

Food authenticity was identified as a new area of interest and a Technical Committee was established to standardise methods in this area. At its first meeting in 2019, this committee established a series of working groups (WG) within which methods would be standardised:

WG1:   Concepts, terms and definitions

WG2:   Species analyses using DNA-based methods

WG3:   Coffee and coffee products

WG4:   NMR analysis

WG5:   Stable Isotope Analysis

WG6:   Validation concepts of non-targeted methods

It has just been announced that the UK has been voted to lead on Working Group 1 (concepts, terms and definitions):

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Dr James Donarski from Fera Science Ltd will be the Convener and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will provide the Secretariat function.

The development of a common language for concepts, terms and definitions associated with food authenticity is important to securing the integrity of food and mitigating food fraud, facilitating international trade.

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4233925226?profile=RESIZE_710xThe FSA has today published guidance to assist food businesses in responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The new guidance has been developed with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and covers a range of areas including good hygiene practice, management of employee sickness, and social distancing for specific food business settings.

It is very unlikely that people can catch COVID-19 from food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging.

The FSA is working with the food industry to ensure that businesses know what their responsibilities are and what actions they need to take to maintain safety standards and protect staff during the outbreak.

The guidance can be found on GOV.UK

 

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4016008456?profile=RESIZE_710xAlthough the process for application to become a Centre of Expertise is open throughout the year, the UK Government has taken a decision to announce a formal call for new applications once a year.

If you think your laboratory can fulfil the AMWG criteria for a Centre of Expertise then please complete a self-assessment evidence proforma, providing evidence of your capabilities, and return to CoE@foodauthenticity.uk by 31 March 2020.

Your application will be processed and discussed with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and you will be notified of the outcome by the end of May 2020.

Benefits of being a Food Authenticity Centre of Expertise

  • Recognition of your organisation’s food authenticity testing expertise
  • Posters of Centres of Expertise are placed on the Food Authenticity Network website
  • Centres of Expertise are featured in Food Authenticity Network newsletters
  • Centres of Expertise have the opportunity to:
    • Potentially contribute to the resolution of future incidents of national / international importance
    • Support UK food authenticity testing capability by offering analysts advice
    • Work with the Food Authenticity Network & its members (>1,500 members from 67 different countries / territories and in 2019, >12,000 users accessed the website)
    • Work with other Food Authenticity Centres of Expertise.

Background

Following the Elliott review in 2013-14, the UK Government set up the Food Authenticity Network to help bring those involved in food authenticity testing together in a more coordinated way. The Network raises awareness of the range of methods / techniques used 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 that ultimately, consumers can have greater confidence in the food they buy.

Recognising that no one organisation will be equipped with all the necessary expertise in all methods / techniques used in food authenticity testing, and across all of the food commodities, Professor Elliot’s review also proposed the creation of “Centres of Excellence” to cover the different disciplines and techniques involved.

The UK Government’s Authenticity Methods Working Group (AMWG) produced a number of criteria which outlined the type of qualities an organisation offering a particular expertise might be expected to demonstrate to become a ‘Centre of Expertise’. There is an expectation that such organisations should be prepared to engage with and offer support to others in their areas of expertise both within the Network and more widely if required.

In 2015, the UK Government invited organisations working in the food authenticity testing field to consider if they had the expertise, capability and experience expected of a Centre of Expertise and through this process, acknowledged fourteen organisations as Food Authenticity Centres of Expertise.

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