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Sylvain Charlebois (Food Institute, University of Guelph) discusses some of the fraud and counterfeit problems occurring in the Canadian Food Market, and the methodology that the University of Guelph and others may develop to control them.

Read the full article at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/counterfeit-products-threatening-the-food-industrys-delicate-balance/article29220689/

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The number of inspections on outlets selling counterfeit alcohol and misrepresented food between April 2012 and March 2015 rose by 10 per cent - from 115 to 127. Despite efforts to combat food crime by councils and Trading Standards, 40% cuts to budgets in England and Wales are beginning to take effect. In Birmingham, TSOs carried out 102 inspections, the highest figure recorded from 243 councils. Despite this increase, the overall rate of inspections remains low.

In January 2015, HMRC launched the 'Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme' (AWRS), which requires all businesses selling alcohol to other businesses to register with the scheme by 31 March 31 2016. The scheme aims to further regulate the alcohol trade by reducing the sale of illegal alcohol and help recoup the £1.2bn that HMRC estimates is lost through evasion of alcohol duty and VAT each year. In March 2015, Newham Council destroyed £75,000 worth of illegal alcohol, which had been seized from shops selling alcohol without a license and from restaurants selling wines and spirits without paying the correct duty.

Read the article at: http://www.solicitorsjournal.com/news/commercial/consumer/25751/under-resourced-local-authorities-struggle-tackle-food-crime

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This DNA macro-array allows the simultaneous identification of 32 meat species. Up to 8 samples can be analysed per chip support. The method showed a sensitivity of 1% in adulterated spiked meat samples. Meat mislabelling can be easily detected.

Read the Food Control Abstract at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713516300883

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Because of a very hot summer and drought last year, Spanish olive oil is expected to rise by 20%. In Italy, bacterial infection in some regions killing olive trees will probably give rise to a 14% increase in olive oil prices. The disease has also spread to Southern France. 

Read the article at: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/olive-oil-prices-set-to-increase-as-much-as-20-as-drought-and-disease-strike-groves-of-southern-a6891796.html#commentsDiv

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Andy Morling, the Head of FSA's National Food Crime Unit, responds to questions about the activities of the new Unit formed in March 2015.

Read the full article in Food Science & Technology Vol 30 Issue 1 March 2016 p11-13 or on-line at:

http://www.fstjournal.org/interview/30-1/andy-morling

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Florida growers are battling Huanglongbing, also known as greening disease, a bacterial disease that is not harmful to humans or animals but kills citrus trees. Citrus greening has affected more than 75 percent of Florida citrus crops and threatens production all across the United States,” said  U.S. Secretary of Agriculture  Tom Vilsack.

Read the full article at: http://protectingyourpocket.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2016/02/19/no-cure-citrus-greening-continues-to-decimate-florida-citrus/

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Italian Agriculture Cooperative, Coldiretti says that the Italian Mafia has managed to infiltrate the agriculture and food industry in the country, earning more than €16 billion in 2015. A study published by Coldiretti, as well as Euripes and the Observatory for Agri-food Crime, reveals that organised criminal groups are exploiting ongoing economic difficulties in the country to take control of agricultural land and enterprises. Organised crime gangs profit in various ways, from counterfeiting recognized products such as olive oil and mozzarella cheese, to the theft of entire herds of animals. 

Read more at: http://www.esmmagazine.com/italian-mafia-said-to-earn-over-e16-billion-from-italian-food-sector/24581

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This study shows the spatial variability in δ13C and δ18O of 387 samples of Italian extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) collected from 2009 to 2011. EVOOs’ δ13C and δ18O values were related to GIS (Geographic Information System) layers of source water δ18O and climate data (mean monthly temperature and precipitation, altitude, xerothermic index) to evaluate the impact of the most significant large-scale drivers for the isotopic composition of Italian EVOOs. 

The paper can be found in: Food Chemistry Volume 202, 1 July 2016, Pages 291–301

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814616301467

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Tests by the Food and Drug Administration have shown branded grated Parmesan under the 100 percent label are routinely being made with cut-rate substitutes such as cheaper cheeses - cheddar, Swiss and mozzarella, as well as wood pulp. Bloomberg TV Company also carried out their own tests on national brands. FDA are prosecuting Castle Cheese Inc, which supplies big grocery chains, for producing “false” Parmesan for almost 30 years. The company's President faces a year in prison and $100,000 fine if found guilty.

Read more at: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/02/fda-says-parmesan-fraud-could-leave-you-eating-woo.html

and -  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-16/the-parmesan-cheese-you-sprinkle-on-your-penne-could-be-wood

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A new book by Prof Richard Evershed and Nicola Temple entitled "Sorting the Beef from the Bull" is a collection of food fraud tales from around the world. It explains the role of science in uncovering some of the century's biggest food scams, and explores the arms race between food forensics and fraudsters as new methods of detection spur more creative and sophisticated means of committing the crimes. This book equips us with the knowledge of what is possible in the world of food fraud and shines a light on the shady areas of our food supply system where these criminals lurk.

A short article on the book can be found at: http://www.newfoodmagazine.com/22494/blogs/sorting-the-beef-from-the-bull/

Details of contents etc: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/sorting-the-beef-from-the-bull-9781472911339/

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Mars is collaborating with IBM in the US to track its raw material microbiome along the food supply chain to use it as a marker for traceability, authenticity, safety and even freshness.

Read the full article at:  http://fortune.com/2016/01/27/ibm-mars-food-safety-big-data/

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Pangasius Substitution in Restaurants in the USA

This paper reports a survey in 37 restaurants in a SE USA city analysing 47 fish dishes on the use of Pangasius, a Vietnamese catfish. Twenty seven percent of declared American catfish dishes, 22% of grouper dishes, and 67% of dishes using just the description "fish" were substituted with Pangasius.This indicated the widespread use of Pangasius in restaurant catering either for economic and/or fraudulent reasons.

Read the abstract at:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713516300172

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SSAFE-Food, PwC and Wageningen University have developed a free on-line tool to help companies assess their food vulnerabilities in their supply chains. 

More information and download of the tool in different formats at:  http://www.ssafe-food.org/our-projects/ or http://www.pwc.com/foodfraud

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