All Posts (577)

Looking to 2020, among the challenges faced by the food sector, which can affect their reputation and market, are food allergies, food fraud and climate change. Food allergies amongst the population especially in children are on the increase, and allergy related recalls have increased by 20% in 2019, along with some tragic high profile allergic reaction deaths. Hence industry, especially the food service sector, will need to take more precautions in future. Climate change will also potentially impact on industry affecting its raw materials and ingredients supplies and production in particular. Food fraud continues to remain a high profile and challenging issue for industry, especially where there is reliance on imported raw materials and ingredients. 

3772769190?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the article here


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Implementation of the new Official Controls Regulation EU 2017/625 on 14 December 2019 is part of a larger initiative - the Smarter Rules for Safer Food (SRSF) package, which covers animal and plant health regulations as well, and is designed  to modernise, simplify and improve existing health and safety standards for the agri-food chain. In particular, an IT system TRACES New Technology will become the new system for notifying imports from outside the EU. This will be one part of a larger new computerised system for official controls (Integrated Management System for Official Controls, IMSOC), which will integrate TRACES with RASFF, the  EU Food Fraud Network and other IT systems.

3772735289?profile=RESIZE_710x  Read the article here, and more details on website and EU Commission's website

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CBD - cannabidiol - isn't marketed as medicinal cannabis. It doesn't have a psychoactive element that makes the user high. Some studies indicate it can help with childhood epilepsy seizures, and other people think it helps them too.

There has been a spike in demand within the last twelve months, according to manufacturers. Non-medicinal CBD is now on sale in High Street shops across the country, including chemists. But the National Pharmacy Association says the products need clearer information and better checks on content.

 Cannabidiol oil is being added to a range of products - from water, to chocolate, to make-up, tea and coffee. Manufacturers claim sales in the UK are as much as £300m at the moment.

It's illegal to print any health claims on the products, but it's a grey area as to who checks the ingredients, or the amount of CBD oil actually contained in each product, many of which can be very expensive. CBD is classed as a food supplement, so it's governed by the Food Standards Agency. FSA said it expects "companies to comply with the novel foods process, which includes submitting safety information about their products"."The FSA is considering the best way to ensure CBD food-related products currently on the market move towards compliance," it added.

In the meantime, customers buying any CBD product have no guarantees if the product is safe, or indeed if it contains any CBD oil at all.

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Michele Suman, Head of Food Safety and Authenticity Research at Barilla Spa, in Parma discusses the latest challenges and innovations effecting the industry in an interview with New Food's editor. He will be elaborating the use and validation of non-targeted methods at next year's Food Integrity Conference in March in Twickenham, London, much of which was developed in his work in the EU Project FoodIntegrity. 

 Read the article here3763971864?profile=RESIZE_710x

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Chinese researchers have developed a rapid, specific and sensitive method in a single duplex polymerase chain reaction (duplex PCR), using  specific primers of based on 16S-RNA genes from camel and bovine mitochondria and D-LOOP genes from horse and goat mitochondria. The duplex PCR was applied to the binary mixtures of raw milk in fixed percentages, as well as processed dairy products (freeze-dried, pasteurised, and ultra-high temperature (UHT) sterilised with the same mixtures and commercial samples). The limit of detection (LOD) of special milk adulterated with bovine milk was 0.1% in raw milk mixture. Pasteurised and UHT sterilised milk raised the LOD to 0.2% and 0.5%, but freeze-dried milk did not raise the LOD. 

3756648923?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the abstract here

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Species substitution of seafood is a major global problem. German scientists have developed a rapid, easy to use, DNA microarray for fish species identification based on cytochrome b and 16S rDNA probes. The microarray test takes only 4-5 hours to complete, and identifies ten important commercial fish species. The microarray was validated using 67 authentic fish species, and was able to clearly identify the 10 species even from closely related species of fish.

1076187540?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the abstract here

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Tesco's withdrawal of its own-label honey comes after an investigation by Richmond Council  Trading Standards. Honey was sent for analysis by NMR,which gave results that it was adulterated with exogenous sugar syrups. Tesco has temporarily taken the honey off the shelves for further examination, but insists the product is "100% pure, natural and can be directly traced back to the beekeeper".

3742110317?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the BBC article

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Using blockchain in the food chain has the potential to improve traceability of the supply chain, enabling users to view the relevant data digitally, remove duplication in reporting and paperwork, and use smart contracts to ensure the process is automated where feasible. Then, all of this drives speed of moving data through the system, so recalls could be managed in minutes rather than weeks, and suppliers can be paid immediately. In this article New Food’s Editor, Bethan Grylls discusses with Julie Pierce, Director of Openness, Data & Digital at the FSA how this technology has been used so far and whether it is trustworthy. 

Read the article here3723777491?profile=RESIZE_710x

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Roumanian researchers have optimised and validated a real-time, sensitive, and accurate PCR method for the detection and quantification of meat species in selected processed meat products: chicken sausages, beef bologna, and pork bologna. A common detection limit of 8 DNA copies was established for each sample, corresponding to 0.1% w/w for beef and pork and 0.2% w/w for chicken. For the limit of quantification, dilutions of 20 copies of DNA for the bovine and pig species and 50 copies of DNA for the chicken species were performed. Specificity and selectivity tests in six replicates each showed no extraneous meat species, in line with the label information. Repeatability was assessed in six replicates, both quantitatively and qualitatively, by the same analyst, on the same day, and with the same equipment. The reproducibility results obtained by two analysts, on different days, for each sample were very similar. 

1337352593?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the full paper

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This paper reviews the latest research using botanical origin, chemical composition and physical properties to characterise and authenticate honey. Melissopanology (pollen identification), sensorial and physicochemical properties combined with statistical analysis or chemometrics are being used to study the characteristics of honey samples and classify them according to different botanical and geographical origins. 

3722400980?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the full paper

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This paper reports the performance of a commercial NGS method that has been evaluated as an untargeted tool to identify meat species. The method was tested on pure meat samples, and all species were correctly identified including several exotic species. Closely related meat species were also correctly differentiated. Species were successfully detected and identified in mixtures down to 1% (w/w). The reliability of the method was further confirmed on several proficiency test samples, and promising quantification data were obtained. Finally, 45 minced meat samples sourced from local European and Asian markets were analysed, and 18% of them showed cases of adulteration with undeclared meat species.

3722359646?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the abstract here

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Under Council Regulation 2081/92, extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) with protected origin status (PDO, PGI) will have specific olive cultivars used in their production laid down to achieve registration of their protected origin. This review details the use of microsatellite markers (SSRs- simple sequence repeats) to verify the olive varieties used in the production of EVOOs, and hence authenticate their protected origin status. This is achieved by comparing the molecular SSR profiles of the oil with online molecular databases. In Italy for example, the SSR profiles are processed into an "identity card" that can be converted to a barcode or QR code on the labels or bottle caps, which can be read at any point along the supply chain, even by consumers and inspectors via a mobile phone, to verify the status and authenticity of the EVOO.

1337657677?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the full paper

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3708557211?profile=RESIZE_710xThe herbal products, sold worldwide as medicines or foods, are perceived as low risk because they are considered natural and thus safe. The quality of these products is ineffectively regulated and controlled. The growing evidence for their lack of authenticity is causing deep concern, but the scale of this phenomenon at the global, continental or national scale remains unknown.

Reserachers analysed data reporting the authenticity, as detected with DNA-based methods, of 5,957 commercial herbal products sold in 37 countries, distributed in all six inhabited continents. The global survey shows that a substantial proportion (27%) of the herbal products commercialized in the global marketplace is adulterated when their content was tested against their labeled, claimed ingredient species. The adulterated herbal products are distributed across all continents and regions. The proportion of adulterated products varies significantly among continents, being highest in Australia (79%), South America (67%), lower in Europe (47%), North America (33%), Africa (27%) and the lowest in Asia (23%).

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China is now Australia's biggest export market for beef. However, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimates that every second kilogram of beef sold in China under the banner of being Australian is not actually Australian beef.  Worst still, estimates by an Australian company, Beefledger based on industry insiders, suggest that 90% beef sold is not what it claims to be. It either does not originate from the country it claims to come from, or is not the cut of meat it claims to be, or is not beef at all. To address this significant problem Beefledger are about to launch blockchain technology for its supply chain to China, so that information about cattle location, health, transport and processing is uploaded into the Beefledger blockchain interface at every point in the supply chain. This will ensure Chinese consumers can purchase its beef with confidence.

Although there is no evidence of horsemeat being traded to China, a television report by Australian Broadcasting Company, ABC has shown a distressing account of retired race horses being slaughtered for human consumption, and this trade is far higher than the official data claims.

3705180202?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the two articles - ABC News  and the Daily Mail

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In an effort to boost consumption of tea and consumer confidence, the Indian Tea Board has been considering using blockchain technology to ensure traceability along the supply chain from tea plantation to auction and retail sale. It is hoped that this will prevent adulteration and reduce lower quality tea being sold, which has had an impact on consumer confidence and consumption. Examples of this are the use of added dyes to hide poor quality and increase the 'glossiness' of tea, and the large scale sale of cheaper Nepalese tea sold as the more expensive Indian Darjeeling tea. Blockchain would permit consumers to access information as to the origin of the tea in terms of region or garden, and know that the integrity of the tea has been preserved.

3701988071?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the article here

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One of the largest US Organic Fraud masterminded by a Missouri farmer  Randy Constant, who was given a prison  sentence for 122 months was reported in our 18 August 2019 News blog. Three other Nebraska farmers, who supplied Constant with conventional crops but sold as organic, were given shorter sentences. At the end of October, a fifth farmer from Missouri was given almost a two year sentence for his role in supplying conventional crops to Constant, as well as spraying Constant's crops with pesticides and fertiliser not permitted for organic crops. Randy Constant committed suicide in August, weeks before beginning his 10 year sentence.

3701949300?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the article here

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A US federal bill that would require plant-based and cell-cultured meat products to be labelled as ‘imitation’ meat has been welcomed by beef producers and slammed by plant-based meat advocates, as the row over terminology in the burgeoning space heats up. The bill would mean that any imitation meat product would be deemed to be misbranded unless its label bears the word ‘’imitation’’ as well as a statement that clearly indicates that the product is not derived from or does not contain meat. The term beef would exclude both plant-based and cell-cultured meat from using the term. The bill is aimed at transparency of products to consumers. Read full article.

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A freedom of information request by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) to the FSA's National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) revealed that in 2018 there were 1,193 food crimes recorded. Examples of food crime include the use of stolen food in the supply chain, unlawful slaughter, diversion of unsafe food, adulteration, substitution or misrepresentation, and document fraud. The most common food crime recorded by the NFCU is the ‘knowing sale of food substances not suitable for human consumption’, which could have consequences for public health. In 2018, there were 310 reported cases in this category, as compared to 73 in the previous year.

3689023291?profile=RESIZE_710x  Read the article here

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Chinese researchers have developed a rapid and simplified work flow analysis using ambient ionisation coupled to a miniature mass spectrometer. The sample treatment and chromatographic separation normally required for mass spectrometry analysis has been by-passed using capillary nano-electrospray ionisation, paper spray ionisation, or syringe spray ionisation depending on the sample.  These are connected to a miniature ion trap mass spectrometer with a continuous atmospheric pressure interface and tandem mass spectrometry capability to undertake the analysis. The system was tested with various food adulterants, and was able to determine as little as 20 - 50 μg/kg of illegal dyes in chilli powder and hotpot seasoning. This developed system has promising potential for fast and in situ screening of food adulteration.

  Read the abstract here3688992492?profile=RESIZE_710x

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