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Product DNA is a system of electronically recording up to 150 attributes about a product, which are verified by a third party, and entered into a "catalogue" so it can be checked at any point in the supply chain and even incorporated into retailers own data systems, as well as accessed by consumers. Thus it can assure product traceability along the entire supply chain, and having an agreed set of attributes allows much easier data sharing between manufacturers and retailers.

Retailers Tesco and Ocado have already signed up to this service, and Unilever.and  Nestlé are the latest companies to do so.

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The European Parliament have approved a report recommending that manufacturers of branded products can add a logo to inform consumer that the product has the same composition and quality across all of the EU. This is in response to concerns that some branded products are different in quality in some Eastern European MSs to the rest of the EU. The Food and Drink Europe (representing food manufacturers) have welcomed the report, but noted that there can be legitimate reasons for differences in branded products across MSs based on consumer preferences, sourcing of local ingredients and reformulation requirements.

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Russian researchers have published a method based on sugar profiles to determine wine authenticity. The glucose-fructose Iindex (GFI) and disaccharide content can be used as marker for wine from different grape varieties. The method can detect when extra grape must has been added before fermentation, as well as wines from arrested fermentation. For sweet wines the glycerol content has to be measured as well. 

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Russian researchers have published a paper on their development of proteomic and peptide identification to identify pork, beef , horse and poultry in meat produced after slaughter. The methodology development can identify peptides which occur in specific tissues or fluids associated with meat species. The researchers are planning the next stage of using the peptide information of the raw materials to identify species in meat products.

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Spain’s National Police and Civil Guard have seized hundreds of tons of expired jamón (ham) and other meat products that were about to be placed back in the market, and in some cases, they were already back on sale.In three separate raids conducted over the course of a few weeks, officers found that individuals and companies were apparently tampering with seals and labels to extend the shelf life of expired food products. 

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JRC's Knowledge Centre publishes a monthly summary on articles and news about food fraud and adulteration, and has just published its June 2018 Newsletter. The top stories cover: adulterated Verdicchio wine in Italy;false buffalo mozzarella cheese in Benelux supermarkets; and investigations into the French spice market revealed 51% of all samples subject to fraud with saffron being the highest number of fraudulent samples. 

Read the June 2018 summary here

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Coffee is currently the second largest commodity on the world market. Brazilian researchers have written a comprehensive review on the development and use of chromatograpy from paper to gas and hplc, and finally ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry to confirm adulteration and fraud in coffee.  

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Decernis buys USP’s Food Fraud Database

US-based technology and content solutions provider Decernis has acquired the Food Fraud Database from USP. USP's Global Strategic Marketing and Programme senior vice-president Salah Kivlighn said: “We are very pleased to have found an appropriate home for the Food Fraud Database, which hundreds of companies depend on to help support their efforts to prevent food adulteration". USP will continue to provide critical resources to help the industry, along with regulators and other stakeholders, verify the identity, quality and purity of food ingredients. The database is updated continuously with ingredients and related records, which are gathered from scientific literature, media publications, regulatory reports, judicial records and trade associations worldwide.

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Polish researchers have published a paper on the development of rapid, simple, and non-destructive analytical procedure for discrimination and authentication of whiskies originating from Scotland, Ireland and USA  as well as time of maturation (two, three, six and twelve years). Combination of data from Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) with statistical analysis was used to construct eight discriminant models. The models obtained permitted whiskies from Scotland, Ireland, and USA to be distinguished from each other, and 2 and 3 years old beverages from 6 and 12 years old whiskies. Results show that 100% of samples were correctly classified in models discriminating American and Scottish whiskies or 2-year-old and 6-year-old American whiskies. American whiskies were classified correctly in all models, which may suggest its considerable chemical difference compared to whisky produced in Scotland or Ireland. 

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The EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has assessed the counterfeiting losses for the wine and spirits sector, which was in the top five sectors for lost sales. The overall losses due to counterfeiting for 13 sectors amounts to Euros 60bn, corresponding to 7.5% of sales, and probably resulting in 434,00 less jobs because of reduced sales.

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U.S. labelling laws require that only species of the family Ictaluridae can be marketed as catfish. The lower production price of Pangasiidae, combined with changes in regulations over time, have resulted in high potential for species substitution and country of origin mislabelling among catfish products. The objective of this study was to conduct a market survey of catfish products sold at the U.S. retail level to examine species mislabelling and compliance with Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) regulations. A total of 80 catfish samples were collected from restaurants, grocery stores and fish markets in Orange County, CA. DNA was extracted from each sample and tested with a real-time PCR Kit for Ictaluridae spp. Samples that tested negative for Ictaluridae were tested with real-time PCR Kit for Pangasiidae spp. DNA barcoding was used as a final test in cases where species could not be identified with either of the real-time PCR assays. Overall, 7 of the 80 (9%) catfish products were found to be substituted with Pangasiidae species, these were attributed to 5 of the 40 restaurant samples and 2 of the 32 grocery store samples. In addition, 59% of grocery store samples were not compliant with COOL regulations. 

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EU Regulation No. 1379/2013 states clearly that “the commercial designation of the species and its scientific name” must be shown whenever a fish sold along with its production method (wild or farmed) and where caught or raised. Fish traders in the port of Marseille were fined by Government fish inspectors sums varying from Euros 450 -1500  for not displaying all of this information including the scientific name.

However, the Mayor of Marseille related this occurrence to President Macron during a lunch with him last week. The President laughed and promised that the fines would not have to paid nor would the traders need to use the scientific (latin) names.

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The new guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration aims to help food businesses understand and comply with the new Intentional Adulteration Rule, which comes into effect in July 2019. The IA Rule requires businesses to implement strategies to reduce the risk of intentional adulteration at food facilities that are particularly vulnerable.

The 94-page draft guidance, which is the first of three installments, includes chapters on the Food Defense Plan, vulnerability assessment, and mitigation strategies. The other installments will be released later in the year.

Read the full guidance here.

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Under the Horizon Europe programme, which focuses on the future funding of food and agriculture research by the European Commission, investment in food research and innovation will see an increase. The Commission has earmarked €10 billion for the food sector, with an emphasis on food safety, which has €1.68 billion confirmed. This embraces quite a wide area of research which could include the safety issues arising out of food fraud.

Read more about the programme on FoodNavigator.

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Imprint Analytics GmbH have published a paper in the Journal of Food Science and Technology on the analysis of coconut waters for authenticity testing. Coconut water is becoming more prevalent as a healthy, low carb alternative to other beverages and is defined as a juice by the European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN).

The study analysed 30 authentic coconut waters, that were extracted from coconuts in the lab, and 24 commercial coconut waters purchased from shops to investigate the detection of added C-4 plant sugars to the drinks.

Find the study here.

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Researchers in Ireland have published a paper which discusses current and evolving techniques to determine geographical origins of meat. The paper explores applications of meat authenticity techniques including spectrscopy, stable isotope ratio analysis, and the measurement of compounds derived from the animals' diets. The authors also discuss challenges in interpretation of the data.

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Agroscope have collaborated with SwissDeCode on a test to determine the authenticity of bacterial cultures in cheese. The mobile test kit, developed with funding from Swiss Food Research, are able to extract and identify two bacterial strains at room temperature. In the past, samples that were deemed suspicious were sent to BerneLiebefeld lab for analysis, which typically took somewhere between 1 to 2 weeks for a response. The new kit produces results in less than one hour.

Read the entire story here, or for the original story in German and French, read here.

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Prosecco, a product with protected designation of origin, is produced in only nine areas near the Italian cities of Venice and Trieste. Last month, FSA investigators siezed a shipment of thousands of bottles which were labelled as 'Prosecco', but were actually sparkling wine produced in Moldova. 

Read more about the story here.

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