News

food authenticity (17)

3549856866?profile=RESIZE_710xRachel Gullaksen, Sean Daly and Malcolm Burns (from left to right) looking at multispectral imaging applications for food authenticity

The Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) aims to help protect businesses and consumers from fraudulent supply chains through building relationships with industry, delivering crime prevention initiatives and conducting thorough, proportionate investigations where necessary. This is to support the Food Standard Agency to deliver its overarching strategy that “food is safe and is what it says it is”.

Following an increase to its budget, the NFCU has seen significant extension of the unit’s capabilities and remit in terms of its investigation and crime disruption capabilities and the prevention of food crime. As part of its outreach programme and as a follow-up to a meeting between Darren Davies, Head of the NFCU and the Government Chemist, Julian Braybrook and Selvarani Elahi in May 2019, colleagues from the NFCU visited LGC.

Selvarani Elahi gave a presentation on the Food Authenticity Network, highlighting the benefits of closer collaboration between this growing global network and the NFCU, both of which were created by the UK government to address the recommendations of the Elliott Review.

NFCU colleagues were taken on a tour of LGC’s National Measurement Laboratories where LGC staff demonstrated research on a range of technologies from point-of-use screening to confirmatory methods capable of combating food crime or food fraud .

 

Read more…

Food Authenticity Newsletter: Issue 10

3549800198?profile=RESIZE_710x

The Food Authenticity Network turned four in July 2019 and looking back to when it was first established on 14 July 2015, we could not have imagined that in four short years and with relatively modest funding, we could have grown to a membership of over 1,130* from 58 countries / territories and a Twitter following of over 1,548. The website has also achieved a Google PageRank score of number 1 for a search on the term ‘food authenticity’ and the equivalent on Twitter.

In case you missed it, Issue 10 of the Food Authenticity Network Newsletter was published in July and contains news from the Network, three interesting articles and a further Centre of Expertise profile:
•News from CEN on Food Authenticity
•Increased activities of the Food Standard Agency’s National Food Crime Unit.
•Application of Artificial Intelligence and smart phone to authenticate food in situ.
•Achievements of the EU Project FoodIntegrity project.
•Centre of Expertise profile from Minerva Scientific

Download your copy here.

*Google Analytics shows that the website is actually being accessed by ~8,000 unique users annually.

 

Read more…

3435350351?profile=RESIZE_710xThe EU FoodIntegrity project has published a number of Scientific Opinions on difficult stakeholder derived issues that concern food fraud. The topics were all identified by stakeholders and are intended as documents that describe best practices. The published Scientific Opinions can be found here under the 'Scientific Opinions' tab.

The latest Scientific Opinion published is on "Use of NMR applications to tackle future food fraud issues". The SO discusses how both targeted (allows the identification of specific markers of identity/adulteration for a given foodstuff) and untargeted (the chemical profile of the whole foodstuff is used to create a unique fingerprint as a reference for suspect samples) NMR methodologies are applied in routine use for food fraud monitoring. The cost-effective approaches for routine application are discussed using examples of Food Screener™ and benchtop low-field instruments.

Read more…

Pictured above is Bhavna Parmar of the UK Food Standards Agency with Anne Bridges of AACC International.

The Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) held its 40th Session in Budapest, Hungary, from 27 to 31 May 2019. The Session was attended by 49 Member countries and 1 Member organization and 12 observer organisations.

Selvarani Elahi, representing the UK Government Chemist, attended as part of the UK delegation together with colleagues from the Food Standards Agency and the Association of Public Analysts.

CCMAS considers methods of analysis for Codex standards and testing in relation to international food trade. CCMAS 40 discussed analytical methods for nutritional metals, acid value and free fatty acids in palm oil, milk and milk product commodities, 'gluten free' labelling in products containing cereals, pulses and legumes, and herbs & species. The meeting also received updates from working groups on the revision of three substantive Codex documents: general standard for methods of analysis and sampling, guidelines on measurement uncertainty and guidelines on sampling. Work on these documents continues in order to reach global consensus.

As there is increasing interest in food integrity and food authenticity at Codex, the poster on the Food Authenticity Network attracted attention from delegates. Follow-up discussions are planned with member countries on creating ‘country-specific’ pages on the Food Authenticity Network for their countries in order to create a truly global network. Discussions will also continue with the food industry and observer organisations looking to support the work of the Network.

If you would like further information on supporting the Network, please contact us on Secretary@foodauthenticity.uk.

The Food Authenticity Network is mentioned in the meeting report, which is available from the Codex Alimentarius website.

Read more…

Spanish authors have published a chapter in a new book - "Mass Spectrometry - Future Perceptions and Applications", reviewing the use of LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry) in a wide number of authenticity applications. The chapter discusses the use in targeted analysis with or without chemometrics for identifying polyphenols to authenticate different fruits, vegetables and honey. It also reviews the use of LC-HRMS (High Resolution Mass Spectrometry) with chemometrics in targeted applications identifying biomarkers in saffron, fruits, cocoa beans, spices and rice. Non-targeted LC-MS applications for metabolomics in a wide range of foods are also covered.

Read the open access chapter  

Read more…

Food fraud a worldwide problem and many countries continue to commit considerable resource to combat the issue. With the food supply chain now truly global, there is acknowledgement that having agreed definitions for terms commonly associated with food authenticity and food fraud would be of great benefit.

The Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima), has led a European initiative with the objective of making communication regarding food fraud more precise. Together with food fraud experts (including from the Food Authenticity Network Team) from several European countries including the UK, a European standard has been created that defines many of the English terms and concepts used in connection with food fraud. The words are placed in a hierarchical system that makes it easier to understand how they relate to each other - see image.

The standardisation was coordinated as part of the EU-funded Authent-Net and FoodIntegrity projects. It was published in January 2019 by Standard Norway, and it is also being distributed by several other National Standardisation Bodies in Europe; currently Estonia, Netherlands, and the UK.

This standard represents an important first step in the global standardisation of these terms which will help facilitate trade, combat food fraud and better secure our food supply chains.

Read more…

IFST has re-written its “Food authenticity testing” Information Statement and split it into two parts:

Food authenticity testing part 1: The role of analysis, which now covers the role of analytical testing within the context of an overall supply chain assurance strategy.

Analytical testing is a valuable tool in the armoury to assure food authenticity but cannot be used to identify every type of food fraud.  It is only one part of an overall strategy to mitigate fraud risk.

Many modern tests are based upon comparing a pattern of measured values in the test sample with patterns from a database of authentic samples. Interpretation is highly dependent on the robustness of the database, and whether it includes all possible authentic variables and sample types. This information may not be released by the laboratory.  Interpretation of results is rarely clear-cut, and analytical results are often used to inform and target further investigation (such as unannounced audits or mass-balance checks) rather than for making a compliance decision.

This paper describes where testing can and cannot be used, and highlights generic issues relating to interpreting food authenticity testing results.

Food authenticity testing part 2: Analytical techniques, which gives describes specific analytical techniques, their applications, strengths and weaknesses.

This paper describes the principles, different configurations, applications, strengths and limitations of some of the more common analytical techniques used in food authenticity testing:
• Mass spectrometry
• Stable isotope mass spectrometry
• DNA analysis
• Nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry
• Spectroscopy.

Generic strengths and limitations of food authenticity test methods, particularly those relating to methods comparing against reference databases of authentic samples, are discussed in “Food authenticity testing: The role of analysis”. It also describes the difference between targeted and untargeted analysis.

Read more…

Issue 9 of the Food Authenticity Network Newsletter is now available and features a foreword from Professor Chris Elliott of Queen's University Belfast.

The newsletter describes how from January 2019, the Network has transitioned from being soley government funded to a public-private partnership led by LGC. Using this vehicle, our ambition is to build a truly global Network by working with governments, industry and other stakeholders from around the world. In support of this vision, the website domain name will transition to an international domain: www.foodauthenticity.global, but we will still operate our present domain www.foodauthenticity.uk in parallel to make sure links keep working.

In this issue, there are three interesting articles as well as our Centre of Expertise Profile:

  • An article on the FAO/IAEA’s new 5 year project on Authenticating High Value Foods.
  • An article from Which? on its consumer and authenticity activities.
  • An article that describes the latest features of the Decernis food fraud database (formerly run by USP)
  • Centre of Expertise Profile, LGC; LGC is proficient across multiple techniques required for food authenticity testing, including rapid / non-targeted / point-of-use methods.

 

 

Read more…

In this review by Spanish researchers, an updated, comprehensive and balanced overview of the recent studies (2015-2018) that have applied omics-based technologies for the authentication of food is given. The omics-based molecular tools discussed in the review include genomics, proteomics and metabolomics-based methods.

Read the abstract

Read more…

I wanted to inform all members that Selvarani Elahi will be giving a presentation on the Food Authenticity Network at the Preventing Food Fraud Conference.

As a result, the organisers have agreed that any member of the Network, who wishes to attend the Conference held at One America Square,17 Crosswall, London EC3N 2LB on 22 February 2018, will receive a £200 discount.

You will need to enter the discount code  “FoodAuthenticity” on the registration form to get your discount

Information about the programme and speakers can be found here, and for a registration form on this link.

Read more…

Download your copy now

Discover the role of the Government Chemist in combating food fraud, learn the outcomes of referee cases, and read about the research carried out in 2016 under the Government Chemist function.

Highlights:

Food safety: evaluated levels of carcinogenic toxins in seeds, nuts and spices

Food authenticity: assessed claims for the geographical origin and botanical source of honey

Allergens: detected sulphites in food containing interfering ingredients such as garlic

Quantifying protein allergens: carried out research into the quantification of proteins extracted from processed food for immunoassay and mass spectrometry analysis

Foresight and future work:  looked to the future to identify food safety and authenticity related challenges and how best to prepare for them. 

Save the date: Government Chemist conference 2018
The 2018 Government Chemist Conference will take place in London on 13-14 June. Further information about the conference will be disseminated in the autumn, watch your inbox for details.

Get in touch
If you have any questions about the work of the Government Chemit, or about food safety and/or authenticity related issues, email us at: governmentchemist@lgcgroup.com or have a look at our website: www.gov.uk/governmentchemist 

Read more…

A coordinated research project, run in cooperation with the FAO, brings together scientists from 13 countries to explore opportunities created by advances in field-deployable analytical equipment.  The development of high performance hand-held computing devices, such as smart phones, has enabled a new generation of instruments that can be used outside the traditional laboratory environment. Ion mobility spectrometry, a nuclear-based technology used by border police in the detection of illicit drugs and explosives, is one of such method that could be adapted to perform point-of-use screening tests to check for adulterants, contaminants and mould in food. Participating countries are Austria, Belgium, China, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Russian Federation, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, United Kingdom, Uganda and the United States. The project kicked off with a meeting in Vienna in May, and first results are expected within the next two years.

Read IEAE's Press Release at: IAEA Portable Instrument Project 

Read more…

In 2017 MoniQA Association (Monitoring and Quality Assurance in the total food supply chain) www.moniqa.org will highlight emerging issues related to 1) food authenticity and food fraud prevention and 2) food allergens and effective food allergen management. Starting with various task force meetings (25 January 2017) and an international symposium on Food Fraud Prevention and Effective Food Allergen Management 26 + 27 January 2017 http://bari2017.moniqa.org/ the MoniQA Global Food Safety Network again will strengthen its involvement in collaborative research projects, providing validated reference materials (especially for food allergen analysis), developing harmonized protocols, offering validated information and online tools and databases, as well as providing training and continuous professional development. The top 5 priorities for 2017 will include food authenticity, food allergens, antimicrobial resistance, processing and chemical contaminants (including mycotoxins), and microbiological contaminants.

Read full article

Read more…

Food Quality News has published an article that highlights the cases referred to the Government Chemist in 2015 which included novel investigations, familiar issues and re-emerging questions. The most challenging investigations involved alleged allergens in spices, for which the GC had to develop completely new methods of analysis. Familiar issues included aflatoxins, naturally occurring cancer causing contaminants; and there were also issues to resolve relating to pesticides residues, food authenticity, and residues of veterinary medicines. Two issues resurfaced after gaps of several years; illegal dyes and the choking hazards of jelly mini-cups.

Focus on food authenticity remained high in 2015. The FSA funded 2014-15 National Sampling Programme included an additional element of local authority testing of lamb dishes from takeaway restaurants for meat speciation (and where appropriate for allergens and additives). There were over 60 samples considered to be non-compliant when sampled by a local authority from the restaurant and its suppliers which needed following up.

The Public Analyst reported one lamb sample as satisfactory, however a product described as goat meat was reported to contain only sheep DNA. Moreover the Public Analyst also reported a minced lamb product with a substantial amount of chicken DNA, a “cooked lamb curry” with only beef DNA and a sample described as “cooked minced lamb” was found to contain chicken DNA as well as sheep DNA. Proceedings were instigated in the Magistrate’s Court and the defendant supplier entered a ‘not guilty’ plea. Anticipating a possible analytical defence the local authority requested a referee analysis of the retained portions of the samples.

The GC applied both ELISA (to check the protein) and real time PCR (to identify cell nucleus DNA) to multiple replicates of the samples. The “cooked lamb curry”, consisted of seven pieces of cooked meat and some sauce. The GC tested multiple replicates of each piece of meat (and the sauce) individually and showed that the meat was beef and not sheep meat. The “goat meat”, also consisted of seven pieces of raw meat and similar detailed analysis confirmed that the meat was sheep and not goat. The GC found the “cooked minced lamb” to consist of a mixture of chicken and sheep meat, and the “minced lamb”, consisted of a mixture of sheep and chicken meat.

Hence the GC upheld all of the Public Analyst’s findings and the defendant was found guilty and received a total penalty (fines and costs) of £7100.

Read full article and the Government Chemist Annual Review for 2015.

Read more…

Detecting Food Authenticity and Integrity

Detecting Food Authenticity and Integrity is a joint Analyst and Analytical Methods themed collection of research papers showcasing the latest discoveries and developments in detecting food authenticity and integrity; including the analysis and detection of food fraud, contamination, adulteration and spoilage. There are papers on:

  1. A new PCR method for horsemeat detection and quantification.
  2. Rapid quantitative detection methods for rapid on-site food fraud analysis - moving out of the laboratory and into the food supply chain.
  3. Assessment for the fitness of purpose utilisation of 5 hydroxymethyl 2 furfural quantification analysis in FAPAS proficiency tests.
  4. Hyperspectral imaging in tandem with multivariant analysis and image processing for non-invasive detection and visualisation of pork adulteration in minced beef.
  5. Integration of colorimetric and SERS detection for rapid screening and validation of melamine in milk.

The papers are available from the on-line journals at:

 http://pubs.rsc.org/en/journals/articlecollectionlanding?sercode=ay&themeid=dd305f52-68e5-44e6-8634-25d564d11c89


Read more…