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food safety (9)

Whilst deliberate adulteration of herbs and spices is understood to be a common phenomenon, this study highlights a potential food safety issue:

Between 2008 and 2017, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tested more than 3000 samples of consumer products during lead poisoning case investigations and surveys of local stores, and of these, spices were the most frequently tested (almost 40% of the samples).

 

A total of 1496 samples of more than 50 spices from 41 countries were collected during investigations of lead poisoning cases among New York City children and adults and local store surveys.

More than 50% of the spice samples had detectable lead, and more than 30% had lead concentrations greater than 2 parts per million (ppm). Average lead content in the spices was significantly higher for spices purchased abroad than in the United States. The highest concentrations of lead were found in spices purchased in the countries Georgia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Morocco.

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The ease of adulterating spices combined with the complexity of fraud detection makes the condiments highly vulnerable to fraud, a scientific study has found. Published in the journal Food Control, the research examined fraud vulnerabilities of eight companies in the spices supply chain using the SSAFE food fraud vulnerability assessment tool, which comprises 50 indicators categorised in opportunities, motivations, and control measures to provide a fraud vulnerability profile.
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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 

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A suspected fake vodka factory has been raided in Aintree by HMRC, with almost 2,000 litres of potentially toxic alcohol seized.

People drinking counterfeit alcohol are "risking their lives and denying tax payers millions of pounds in unpaid duty that should be spent on vital public services".

Read the full story at:

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"EU-China-Safe" is a new EU Horizon 2020 project in collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology worth €10m.  The Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, will lead the project, one of world’s largest food safety projects. The aim of the project is to reduce food fraud and improve food safety through focusing on improving food legislation, food inspection and increasing access to information across both continents. The project has 33 partners, including 15 in the EU and 18 in China, who are key players in the food industry, research organisations and governments across two of the world’s largest trading blocks.

Read the Press Release: EU-China-Safe Project

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China to Tighten Regulation on Food and Drugs

China's Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) will tighten regulation and revise standards on an extensive range of food and drugs. A national plan from 2016-2020 requires whole-process control and whole chain regulation on food and drugs, especially on source control and risk prevention. A total of 1.1 million cases concerning food safety have been handled nationwide from 2013 to 2015. Those companies and individuals violating regulations will receive severe punishment in the future, such as criminal liability for the adulteration of food. The plan also intends to revise at least 300 food safety standards during the five year period.

Read the article at: China tightens food regulation

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The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 4, 2011 enables FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. It enables FDA to focus more on preventing food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to problems after they occur. The law also provides FDA with new enforcement authorities designed to achieve higher rates of compliance with prevention- and risk-based food safety standards and to better respond to and contain problems when they do occur.  

Read more details at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm239907.htm

and full details on the new Act and its implementation on the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/default.htm

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