food authenticity (31)

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 AOAC International's Food Authenticity Task Force has developed standard method performance requirements (SMPR) for targeted and non-targeted food authenticity methods. SMPR set minimum performance criteria that food authenticity testing methods for milk, honey and olive oil need to fulfill. 

Further information was provided in a recent free-of-charge webinar, which can be viewed on registration.

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The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt across the food supply network.

The Chairman of our Advisory Board, Sterling Crew, has published a paper for the IFST, in which he reviews the potential food authenticity challenges created by the pandemic and the mitigation of the emerging risks and threats.

Many of the risk factors for food fraud have increased across the global food supply network due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Steps taken following the horsemeat incident and the Elliott report have strengthened the UK’s food supply network authenticity controls and helped to mitigate vulnerability to COVID-19 related fraud..Chris Elliott

The pandemic has highlighted some of the weaknesses in the nature and complexity of the global food network. The UK food industry must assure the authenticity of food by continuing to minimise the vulnerability to food fraud , by building resilience to possible future shocks and by mitigation of the emerging authenticity risks and created by COVID-19.

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A project has started in Australia to use a portable Xray fluorescence instrument to give an elemental fingerprint in order to verify that seafood being sold in Australian markets originates in Australian waters. Elemental profiles will need to be determined for each species of seafood and the regions from where they are caught. This will give confidence to consumers that the seafood they purchase will not be fraudulently mislabelled as Australian. The project is being run by the Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation and is part of a larger Traceability Grants Program.

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6845726263?profile=RESIZE_400xIsotopic methods have been recognised by CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) and in part by the OIV (Organisation Internationale de la vigne et du vin) as a means of detecting the non-permitted presence of exogenous acetic acid and water in vinegar (CEN) and specifically wine vinegar (OIV). The methods used are EN 16466-1 for D/H in the methyl site of acetic acid [(D/H)CH3] using 2H-SNIF-NMR (Site Specific Natural Isotope Fractionation-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance), EN 16466-2 and OIV 510/2013 for analysis of 13C/12C in acetic acid (δ13C ‰) using IRMS (Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry), and EN 16466-3 and OIV 511/2013 for analysis of 18O/16O in water (δ18O ‰) using IRMS.

An international collaborative trial has been undertaken in 7 laboratories to define standard deviations of repeatability (sr) and reproducibility (sR) for vinegar and balsamic vinegar stable isotope ratios of H (D/H), C (δ13C) and O (δ18O), in order to establish them as fully recognised official standards. The laboratories analysed two samples of wine vinegar, one cider vinegar, and four balsamic vinegars. The results of the trial are in line with those in the literature or reported in corresponding official methods, and sr and sR of balsamic vinegar are in line with those of vinegar and must.

Read the paper here

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This e-seminar, entitled “Fish speciation for food authenticity”, will introduce the viewer to the analytical needs associated with fish speciation for food authenticity, the prevalent methods used in testing laboratories within the UK and European Union, as well as provide a summary of the scope and limitations of these methodologies. 

For further information and to watch the e-seminar go to the e-Semimars tab of the Training page.

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5849088062?profile=RESIZE_400xNot from concentrate (NFC) orange juice sells at a premium compared to orange juice from concentrate. Chinese researchers have used untargeted metabolomics followed by identification of potential markers from standards to distinguish the two types of orange juice. This produced 91 and 42 potential markers present in NFC orange juice using the mass spectrometer injection in positive and negative mode, including 7 tripeptides (reported for the first time in orange juice). A partial least squares discriminant analysis model, based on the potential markers in positive mode was constructed and validated with 97% and 95% accuracy for training and test. The model was successfully applied to commercial samples, and one NFC brand of orange juice was found to be possibly mislabelled.

Read the abstract here

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As food is now sourced globally, it is important that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has a good understanding of the global drivers of food fraud (root causes of why food fraud incidents occur) that impact the UK and which of the available tools can help it best protect the UK food supply from these influences.

 A Defra funded project is in progress to address these needs. A literature review and expert workshop, held in January 2020, identified food fraud drivers and food fraud mitigation tools.

The aim of this survey is to get your views on the outputs of the literature review and expert workshop so that the most commonly used tools can be selected for evaluation in phase 2 of the Defra project.

The survey will take 10 minutes or less to complete:

Complete Survey

We thank you in advance for your assistance and kindly request that the survey is completed by Friday 19 June 2020.

The Food Authenticity Network Team

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The Government Chemist, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) held a UK seminar on honey authenticity: determination of exogenous sugars by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) on 13 November 2019, which was attended by 57 people representing stakeholder organisations.

The aim of the seminar was to bring together stakeholders involved in honey production and analysis to discuss this topic and ideally come to an agreed position. It was anticipated that the output of this seminar would help inform future UK government policy on the use of NMR for honey authenticity.

The seminar consisted of a series of presentations from invited experts that set the scene for the workshop part of the day, which involved participants splitting into four representative groups to discuss the suitability of NMR for enforcement purposes and to identify gaps and priorities to assessing the use of NMR for the appraisal of honey authenticity.

The report details the aims and outputs of the seminar.Honey authenticity: determination of exogenous sugars by NMR Seminar Report (PDF, 913KB, 19 pages)

Presentations are also available

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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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A national survey of CBD products by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has found that the majority of products analysed were in breach of various articles of food law and some posed potential safety risks for consumers.

The survey reveals that 37% of the products tested had a THC* content that could result in safety limits set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) being significantly exceeded and the implicated batches of these products are currently being recalled. In addition, it was found that the analytically determined CBD content in over 40% of samples varied significantly (>50%) from the declared CBD content.

The implications of these results for consumers range from consumers being grossly misled to being put at risk by the ingestion of relatively high levels of THC. The majority of the 38 products tested from the Irish market were manufactured outside of the country.

The FSAI is working with the Environmental Health Service of the HSE and the relevant food businesses in relation to the matter.

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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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3674633424?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Royal Society of Chemistry has published a book on 'DNA Techniques to Verify Food Authenticity'                       (https://doi.org/10.1039/9781788016025), which includes a chapter (number 26) on the Food Authenticity Network.

 About the book:

The food supply chain needs to reassure consumers and businesses about the safety and standards of food. Global estimates of the cost of food fraud to economies run into billions of dollars hence a huge surge in interest in food authenticity and means of detecting and preventing food fraud and food crime. Approaches targeting DNA markers have assumed a pre-eminence.

This book is the most comprehensive and timely collection of material from those working at the forefront of DNA techniques applied to food authenticity. Addressing the new field of analytical molecular biology as it combines the quality assurance rigour of analytical chemistry with DNA techniques, it introduces the science behind DNA as a target analyte, its extraction, amplification, detection and quantitation as applied to the detection of food fraud and food crime. 

Making the link with traditional forensic DNA profiling and describing emerging and cutting-edge techniques such as next generation sequencing, this book presents real-world case studies from a wide perspective including from analytical service providers, industry, enforcement agencies and academics.  It will appeal to food testing laboratories worldwide, who are just starting to use these techniques and students of molecular biology, food science and food integrity. Food policy professionals and regulatory organisations who will be using these techniques to back up legislation and regulation will find the text invaluable. Those in the food industry in regulatory and technical roles will want to have this book on their desks.

 

Author information:

The editors possess unrivalled expertise and are keen to describe and foster advances in the key area of DNA techniques applied to food authenticity. Dr Lucy Foster is an experienced food scientist, and head of food research including authenticity research at Defra, for many years commissioning studies of global reach. Dr Malcolm Burns is an internationally recognised molecular biologist and expert in DNA quantitation. Dr Michael Walker was a founder board member of the Food Standards Agency, a subject matter expert to the Elliott Review, is Head of the Office of the Government Chemist, and, with a thriving consulting practice, is an experienced expert witness.

 

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This research by the University of Michigan addressed some of the global need for clarification and harmonisation of commonly used terminology such as food fraud, food authenticity, food integrity, food protection, economically motivated adulteration, food crime, food security, contaminant, adulterant, and others.One hundred and fifty survey responses were received from various food-related workgroups or committee members, communication with recognised experts, and announcements to the food industry in general. The food quality and manufacturing respondents focused mainly on incoming goods and adulterant-substances (<50%) rather than the other illegal activities such as counterfeiting, theft, grey market/diversion, and smuggling. Of the terms included to represent “intentional deception for economic gain” the respondents generally agreed with food fraud as the preferred term. Overall, the preference was 50% “food fraud,” 15% “economically motivated adulteration” EMA, 9% “food protection,” 7% “food integrity,” 5% “food authenticity,” and 2% “food crime.” It appears that “food protection” and “food integrity” are terms that cover broader concepts such as all types of intentional acts and even possibly food safety or food quality. “Food authenticity” was defined with the phrase “to ensure” so seemed to be identified as an “attribute” that helped define fraudulent acts.

Read the full paper here

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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 .

 

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Food Authenticity Newsletter: Issue 10

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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  

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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.

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