uk (5)

7983965864?profile=RESIZE_584xThe Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) and Food Standards Scotland’s Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit (SFCIU) have published an assessment of food crime threats to the UK.

The Food Crime Strategic Assessment examines areas of the food supply chain which may be vulnerable to food crime, as well identifying emerging threats which need to be addressed. 

The assessment found that most food crime relates to two broad activities – either selling something of little or no value to the food chain as edible and marketable, or selling passable food, drink or feed as a product with greater volume or more desirable attributes. In practice, this could include replacing ingredients with cheaper and inferior materials, falsely extending use-by dates, or deliberately marketing unsafe products as being fit for human consumption. 

The NFCU have identified priority areas of work for this year in their control strategy. These areas include combatting the selling of dangerous non-foods sold for human consumption, preventing illegal shellfish entering the food chain, and increasing understanding of the use of online platforms to facilitate food crime. The Unit will continue its work with local authorities, law enforcement agencies and the food industry to prevent and protect against incidences of food crime and take action when they occur. 

The SSFCIU has also published its Control Strategy 2020/21, which outlines the food crime priorities and actions being taken to prevent food crime, detect and deter criminality and prosecute offenders. The Control Strategy looks to manage the threat of food crime and set out a clear path in what is a complex and challenging area. This strategy is informed by the UK’s Food Crime Strategic Assessment which FSS developed jointly with Food Standards Agency (FSA). This work assessed information and intelligence from a range of sources and was supported by contributions from partner agencies and industry.

Further information can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Environment Secretary Michael Gove appointed Henry Dimbleby to conduct this year-long review, and to then set out my recommendations within six months of its completion. Government will then publish an ambitious, multi-disciplinary National Food Strategy, the first of its kind for 75 years, in the form of a White Paper.

Part One of the UK National Food Strategy has been published; the recommendations cover two main themes:

• Making sure a generation of our most disadvantaged children do not get left behind.Eating well in childhood is the very foundation stone of equality of opportunity. It is essential for both physical and mental growth.

• Grasping the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to decide what kind of trading nation we want to be.The essence of sovereignty is freedom – including the freedom to uphold our own values and principles within the global marketplace. 

Over the next year the team will speak to people from across the food chain, from farmers in the field to chefs in the kitchen. We will consult experts from around the world, as well as those whose voices are seldom heard, but who have personal experience of the failings of our food system: low-paid workers in agriculture and food production, people with diet-related diseases, farmers living on the margins, and many more.

If you would like to be involved in the conversation, please get in touch: communications@nationalfoodstrategy.org.

 

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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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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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