All Posts (278)

The FoodIntegrity Project has opened the call for participation in one of the numerous training programmes offered by expert institutes around Europe. The training programmes are mainly on analytical techniques in food authenticity, but there is also a course on food fraud vulnerability assessments.

Please follow this link for further information of the courses: List of Training Opportunities and Institutes

Please follow this link to access the application: Training Application Form

Applications Deadline: 30 November 2017. All applications and CVs to be sent to:

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Indian researchers have developed a PCR-RFLP method to authenticate 4 shrimp species of the family Penaeidae, namely, Litopenaeus vannamei, Penaeus monodon, P. semisulcatus and Fenneropenaeus indicus.  PCR amplification was performed targeting 16S rRNA/tRNAval region having an amplicon size of 530 bp using the specific primers for shrimps, 16S-Cru4/16S-Cru3. Subsequent restriction analysis with a single restriction enzyme, Tsp5091, yielded a distinct RFLP pattern for each species of shrimps having fragment sizes below 150 bp. The method works with processed shrimp products, and was validated with  commercial products.

Read the abstract here

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The research report (FA0158) and SOP of a new method, which has been developed and validated to identify vegetable oil species in mixture of oil, is now available on the website. Development of this method has been necessary because of a change in legislation in the labelling of processed foods containing refined vegetable oils (EU Regulation 1169/2011). It is now obligatory to declare vegetable oil species used in the product in the list of ingredients.

The report (FA0158) can be found on the website under the research section, and the FA0158 SOP document can be downloaded from here

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The  Food Brexit 2017 conference held in London on 31 October had 22 speakers from different industry sectors looking at the effect of Brexit on the UK and Irish food and agriculture sectors. It is still unclear what the effect of Brexit will be as negotiations are continuing. Price rises appear inevitable and the possibility of border inspection increases could result in manufacturers cutting corners to maintain their margins.

Read the articles at: Food Brexit 1 and Food Brexit 2

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The Danish Consumer Organisation, Forbrugerrådet Tænk, collected 10 samples of oregano from supermarkets and stores around Copenhagen during the summer. The samples were sent for analysis by FTIR and chemometric modelling followed by mass spectrometry for confirmation. Three of the samples had only 50% oregano, and a fourth 70% oregano, the remainder was dried plant material from olive leaves and myrtle. 

Read the article at: Danish oregano tests

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The Food Safety Authority-Ireland has increased its investigations into suspected cases of food fraud. It carried out 21 investigations in 2014, 35 in 2015, 34 in 2016, and has carried out 20 up to October this year. This is in line with the European Commission's Food Fraud Network which dealt with 60 cases in 2014, 108 in 2015, and 156 cases in 2016. This information was given at a two day conference - Safeguarding 

the Food Chain - Protecting Authenticity and Integrity, organised jointly by FSA-I and Safefood (the all Ireland Organisation promoting food safety and nutrition).

FSA-I's investigations have focused on fish, olive oil, honey, soft drinks, alcohol and beef.

Read the article here

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The National Food Crime Unit intercepted consignments of coconut water imported to the UK via the Port of Felixstowe earlier this year and analysed 12 samples. Of those, seven tested positive for sugar from external sources, such as sugar derived from starch, sugar cane or maize.

In total, nearly 400 tonnes of coconut water were seized or removed from the market, though the FSA stressed none of the products posed a risk to public health.

Read the full article from The Grocer here.

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The legislation seeks to provide the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program with between $15m and $20m a year from 2018 to 2023 to upgrade compliance and enforcement actions in the US and abroad. An additional $5m would also be provided to improve tracking of international organic trade and data collection systems to ensure full traceability of imported products.

The proposed legislation follows a report last month, which found the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (has oversight of the National Organic Program) was lacking in its control and oversight of imported products labelled as organic and concluded that some fraudulent and mislabelled products could be slipping through customs into the US.

Read full article here.

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JRC has published its monthly summary on articles covering food fraud and adulteration. In this September issue, there are articles on frauds involving Guatemalan coffee beans, tuna treated with beet and vegetable broths high in nitrites, and PGI wines in the Venice area.

Read the full summary of articles at: September JRC Fraud Summary

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Confectionery containing fair trade or organic cocoa and sugar carry one of the highest risks of adulteration and mislabelling in the food & drink industry, according to Ecovia Intelligence.

Read the full article here.

Visit our Food Fraud Mitigation page for more information about services, reports and guides.

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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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The UK National Measurement System’s (NMS) Annual highlights report has been published. The report provides a snapshot of the achievements and the impact of the NMS, and demonstrates how measurement plays a vital role in all aspects of our lives.

Every time you get a Certificate of Analysis for an authenticity test of one of your products or, more generally, use your GPS, put petrol in your car, receive a medical diagnosis etc. you are putting your trust in measurements that are underpinned by a system that ensures they are both reliable and internationally recognised. 

The Government invests approximately £65m every year in our measurement infrastructure, and it provides important support for evidence-based policy and regulation.

  • The report shows that the NMS is collaborative, with 445 active academic partnerships delivering key priorities across all sectors, of advanced manufacturing, energy and environment, life sciences and digital.

  • Measurement enables trade, and the NMS provides vital support to industry. In 2016/17 the NMS offered 437 different measurement services to over 731 different customers across the UK.

  • The reach of the NMS is nationwide, and has a significant pool of knowledge that is shared through products, services, reference materials, event best practice guides and online resources.

  • The NMS is providing important skills capabilities for now and in the future, by running a broad range of specialist training programmes and offering a trailblazer apprenticeship standard for metrology technicians.  In 2016/17, 1,189 people have been trained across 57 training courses

  • Important work has started in identifying the most pressing industry challenges in the quality, reliability and integrity of data.

UK NMS Annual highlights report. 

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Download your copy now

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.


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: or have a look at our website: 

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Archived FSA Projects in the Q01 Food Authenticity series have moved from Europarchive to the National Archives. This meant that all our links for Q01 research project reports and SOPs contained in these reports have had to be changed. We apologise if anyone trying to access these reports or SOPs were unable to do so, but the links are now working.

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Member States and the Commission have agreed a raft of measures to reinforce action following the fipronil scandal including the possible creation of  a Food Safety Officer in each country. Fipronil an insecticide used to control cockroaches, fleas and ants, but is illegal for animals intended for the food chain.  It was found on Dutch and Belgian farms and 26 Member States and 23 other countries have been affected by its contamination in eggs and egg products. The Commission stressed that this was not a food safety problem but one of food fraud.

Read the article at: Action after fipronil incident

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In Pursuit of Food System Integrity

This academic paper presents a conceptual and analytical framework for preventing food fraud informed by a situational understanding of the nature of the activities and behaviours involved in the fraud. By integrating models of enterprise with models of in-place preventative action, we can gain a fuller theoretical account of food frauds and how we can prevent them. The paper uses various olive oil fraud investigations to develop its arguments.

Read the full paper at: In Pursuit of Food System Integrity

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