All Posts (251)

Fake Olive Oil Making its Way to the UK Market

Fake" olive oil is on its way to British supermarket shelves, experts have suggested, as large quantities of low quality produce are being produced in Italy. The surge of fake oil is anticipated as the production costs of olive oil have rocketed by up to 40 per cent as a result of poor 2016 harvests, the falling pound, and supermarket pricing.

Read the article at: Fake Olive Oil

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Researchers at the Complutense University of Madrid  have developed an electrochemical biosensor, which is able to recognise a DNA fragment virtually unchanged in the more than 4,500 mitochondrial genomes of horses sequenced, and absent in the rest of mammalian species. This biosensor is capable of discriminating in only one hour, and with statistically significant differences between beef unadulterated and adulterated with only 0.5% (w/w) of horsemeat.

Read the article at: Biosensor for horsemeat 

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Polish researchers have identified unique heat stable peptide markers from soya, cow's milk and egg white using trypsin hydrolysis and LC-Q-TOF-MS/MS. The source of the peptides were main allergenic proteins, namely soya glycinin and β-conglycinin, milk α-S1-casein and the whey protein β-lactoglobulin, as well as egg white ovotransferrin and lysozyme C. These peptides were able to detect undeclared ingredients in poultry products such as sausages, frankfurters and sausages, as an alternative method to ELISA or PCR-DNA methods. This method would be useful for both allergen detection and food authenticity.

Read the full paper at: Peptide markers for soya, milk and egg   

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NFU Mutual Consumer Survey on Food Fraud Published

NFU Mutual’s Food Fraud Report 2017, published on 7 September, reveals that takeaways are the least trusted type of food outlet (42%) followed by online (21%) and convenience stores (16%). The new research by the hospitality business insurer reveals that only 12% of people have confidence in the European food chain and just 7% in the global chain. Almost three quarters (72%) believe there to be an issue with food fraud in the UK, with over a quarter also believing that they have personally experienced it (27%).

Read the articles at: NFU Mutual Consumer SurveyNFU Consumer Survey on Food Fraud 2

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China's food industry has demonstrated a sustained growth trend since the 1980s; however, the years between 1980 and 2012 witnessed a worrisome food integrity situation. In recent years, the situation is improving after the Chinese government's implementation of food safety regulations. This paper analyses the national food spot check data in 2016 in order to understand the current status of food integrity in China.  The data covers almost all kinds of food in the market, and it reveals that overuse of food additives, microbial contamination and subpar food quality indicators are the top three factors limiting food integrity. The illegal use of sweeteners, colourants and sulphites are also regarded as food authenticity problems.  Additionally, the paper discusses other challenges that affect food integrity in China, and we make suggestions for improving food integrity.

Read the full paper at: Study on Spot Check Data in China

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The ability to detect the undeclared addition of a juice of lesser economic value to one of higher value (juice-to-juice debasing) is a particular concern between apple and pear juices due to similarities in their major carbohydrate/polyol profiles. Individual unique fingerprint phenolics have been identified in apple juice and pear juice, and an additional plant hormone compound (absisic acid) identified in pear juice. Additionally, the HPLC-PDA (high performance liquid chromatography with a photodiode array detector) profile of pear juices in combination with pear fingerprint compounds including arbutin could be used to identify samples originating from China versus those from other geographical locations.

Read the abstract at: Markers in Pear and Apple Juice

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Italy has announced plans to bring in mandatory origin labelling for tomato-based products, bypassing EU procedures and sparking fears for the unity of Europe's single market.

The move comes just weeks after Italian authorities unveiled a decree implement a two-year trial for mandatory origin labelling for pasta and rice , requiring manufacturers to indicate the country of origin of the grains used to manufacture processed rice and pasta items on packaging.

Italy also has origin labelling for dairy products.

The move is intended to counter growing competition coming from imports of Chinese tomato puree which, according to Coldiretti, the association that represents the Italian agricultural sector, increased by 43% in 2016.

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This book covers the science of stable isotope measurement, sample preparation and testing of biological and geological elements. It also covers using isotopes for verification of origin and authenticity of plant based foods, fruits and vegetables, flesh foods, dairy products, vegetable oils, organic foods, alcoholic beverages, and some other miscellaneous foods. It brings the reader up to date with the latest developments in this area.

The contents and first couple of chapters can be found at: Food Forensics: Stable Isotopes as a Guide to Authenticity and Origin

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Oceana, a nonprofit seafood conservation group, did a study back in 2015 and found that 43 percent of the salmon they tested was actually mislabeled.

Most of that salmon fraud ― we’re talking 69 percent of it ― mislabeled farmed salmon as being wild-caught salmon, which is typically more revered. That means you could be paying for a wild-caught Pacific salmon filet, when in fact you’re getting Atlantic farmed salmon.

Other fraud in the salmon market occurs when “one type of wild salmon is substituted for another, like the cheaper chum salmon or pink salmon being sold as a more expensive salmon like coho or sockeye,” Kimberly Warner, chief scientist at Oceana, told HuffPost.

Most of the fraud happens at restaurants.

Oceana found that most of the fraud from their study occurred at restaurants (67 percent vs. 20 percent at big chain retailers). Smaller grocery markets were also often guilty of salmon fraud. Big chain retailers are your safest bet for getting the salmon you actually want. But it isn’t always restaurants or markets pulling a fast one on consumers. 

Sometimes the restaurants and retailers are the victims.

“What we’re dealing with is two different types of fraud,” Gavin Gibbons of the National Fisheries Institute told HuffPost. “One is species substitution, where the retailer or restaurant is the victim. They’re being defrauded because the person selling them the salmon tells them it’s one thing when it’s not. The other side of it is menu mislabeling or just mislabeling in a retail establishment, and that’s when they say it’s wild-caught salmon but they know it’s farmed salmon. So there’s two distinctly different things, but they’re both fraud.”

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The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's (CSIRO) has published a Food and Agribusiness Roadmap to which identifies  key growth areas for Australia's food exports.

The document was produced in collaboration with FIAL and names climate change, geopolitical instability and technological advances among the primary challenges facing Australian agribusinesses in the coming decades and warns that previous successes cannot be sustained through productivity improvements alone.

Five key growth enablers arose from industry consultation, each requiring a unique mix of science and technology investment, business action and ecosystem assistance:

1) Traceability and provenance

2 ) Food safety and biosecurity

3) Market intelligence and access

4) Collaboration and knowledge sharing

5) Skills.

The report states that food fraud is estimated to cost around 40 billion U.S. dollars per year worldwide, with the United States (29.8%), China (13.6%) and India (12.6%) being the largest sources of fraudulent production. However, the report also highlights breakthroughs in tracking RFID chips, barcodes and QR codes in food labels and predicts that these will help address some of industry's concerns in traceability and provenance.

Read Roadmap.

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The Food Authenticity Network Newsletter - Issue 6 has just been distributed to our members. It can also be accessed here:

Food Authenticity Network Newsletter - Issue 6

This is a special edition of our Newsletter as it marks the second anniversary of the Food Authenticity Network. So we thought it would be  useful to inform our members about what has been achieved in the past two years and what is available on the website.

As well as this recap, in this Newsletter, there is an article  on the use of peptide analysis to determine meat species from the new Quadram Institute (formerly IFR, Norwich), which is one of our Centres of Expertise. There is news about two initiatives in CEN, one looking at definitions and  terms for food authenticity and fraud, and a coordinating group to look at food authenticity methods in CEN Technical Committees. The work of SGF global standards of running a voluntary control system for the fruit juice industry is also described.

We hope you will enjoy reading the Newsletter and we look forward to receiving any comments you may have on it at

Kind regards


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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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Cyber Crime Police Units in India are to use a procedure of mapping the geographical locations of crime spots identified during the crackdown on food adulteration so as to help the police keep a tab on them.

This is not a new procedure since this method is used to geotag other incidents such as accident hot-spots but it is being used in adulteration cases for the first time in India.

Data on manufacturing units sealed or against whom action was initiated on charges of adulteration will be compiled with photographs and location and shared with all Surveillance Officers together with information on the geotagged adulteration units.

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The Spanish Guardia Civil, in coordination with Europol, has dismantled an organised crime group that was trading horsemeat in Europe that was unfit for human consumption. During the investigation, Guardia Civil was able to locate the Dutch businessman related to the 2013 Irish case of the beefburgers containing horse meat
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