All Posts (735)

6959334072?profile=RESIZE_400x The popularity of high value Chia and Quinoa "superfoods", makes them vulnerable to substitution and mislabelling. A real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction)  (qPCR) method has been developed for the authentication of these two seeds.The developed method using chia- and quinoa specific primer-probe sets based on TaqMan technology was validated, and specificity, cross-reactivity, limit of detection, efficiency and robustness were determined. The method was successfully applied to twelve (chia) and seven (quinoa) commercial composite samples, indicating its suitability to authenticate these two foods.

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6933339284?profile=RESIZE_400xGiven the number of cases of fraud in the US organic agri-food sector, the USDA now proposes amending the Organic Regulations to strengthen oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and sale of organic agricultural products. The proposed amendments are designed  to strengthen organic control systems, improve farm to market traceability, and provide robust enforcement of the USDA organic regulations. The USDA has issued a draft proposed rule, but the consultation period of 60 days will only begin when the proposed rule is published officially in the Federal Register. 

USDA News Release gives details of all the relevant documents, and how and where to send comments

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Following a call for new Food Authenticity Centres of Expertise (CoE) earlier this year, three new organisations have been added:

  • The Institute for Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast has been added as a Centre of Expertise in the ‘Academic’ category.
  • GfL (Gesellschaft für Lebensmittel-Forschung) mbH has been added as a Centre of Expertise in the ‘Specific Commodity’ category.
  • Aberdeen Scientific Services Laboratory has been added as a Centre of Expertise in the ‘General Proficiency’ category.

For further information on these organisations, see their Full Evidence Proformas on the Centres of Expertise pages.

Applications for new Food Authenticity Centres of Expertise can be assessed throughout the year so if you think your laboratory can fulfil the AMWG criteria for a Centre of Expertise then please complete a self-assessment evidence proformaproviding evidence of your capabilities, and send to CoE@foodauthenticity.uk. 

 

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3925480647?profile=RESIZE_400xFaster screening methods are becoming increasingly important to permit rapid analyses, and FT-NIR spectroscopy offers the possibility of such a method.  Validation of screening methods requiring the application of multivariate data treatment is less frequently described in literature, thus limiting their use as routine tools in control laboratories for food fraud monitoring. Guidelines for validating screening methods for EU Official Control Laboratories involving pesticide residues, GMOs, allergens mycotoxins etc., were issued in 2013. In this research, an  EU-validation procedure for screening methods was developed and successfully applied to a multivariate FT-NIR spectroscopic method for the screening of durum wheat pasta samples adulterated with common wheat at the screening target concentration of 3%.  The results obtained demonstrated that the validation approach would be a proof-of-strategy to be used for multivariate infrared methods applied for screening purposes. 

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Over 25 stakeholders from various cannabis industry sectors in Canada, USA and the EU, participated in the recent Cannabis Authenticity and Purity Standard (CAPS) Steering Committee Session, on June 23 2020, to hear more about the need for standardized safety and quality measures throughout the medicinal, edible, beverage, topical and recreational cannabis product supply chain.  

Cannabis and hemp are natural products increasingly consumed for their perceived health benefits by those seeking alternative nutrition and medicine to deal with common ailments such as chronic pain, anxiety, infections, and compromised immunity. In many jurisdictions where these products are legally available, government regulations tend to stipulate only the basic safety requirements. In most other established industry sectors, brands, retailers, and consumers demand far more than the minimum regulatory requirements and usually impose more rigorous safety and quality brand protection measures from their suppliers.

Steering Committee participants also interacted with presenters such as Roger Muse, a Vice President at the ANSI American National Accreditation Board (ANAB), who spoke about the value of third-party accreditation, standards, and testing methods specifically designed for the cannabis industry. “We are excited to be working with Purity-IQ whose CAPS third-party certification will combine requirements for ISO/IEC 17065 accreditation process together with ISO/IEC 17025 laboratory accreditation. As a condition for doing business, the CAPS certification process will provide brands and specifiers with much needed safety and consistency assurances.”

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Happy 5th Birthday to us!

We were set-up on 14 July 2015 by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as a direct response to the review conducted by Prof. Chris Elliott to act as a one-stop-shop for all things food authenticity testing related. Today, we have over 1,830 members from 78 countries / territories around the world and in 2019, over 12,000 users accessed the website. We've also added sources of good practice information on food fraud mitigation to our scope recognising that it's best to try to prevent #foodfraud from happening in the first place.

So a BIG thank you to Defra, Food Standards AgencyFood Standards Scotland and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)), our Supporters (McCormick & CompanyLGC StandardsInstitute of Food Science and TechnologyFood Industry Intelligence Network (fiin) and SSAFE), my colleagues Mark WoolfeStephen EllisonMichael WalkerFelicia Golden & Gary Bird, our Advisory Board (Sterling CrewLiz MoranBarbara HirstSophie RollinsonLucy FosterBhavna Parmar, Kasia Kazimierczak, Kerina Cheesman, Elizabeth Andoh-KessonFranz UlberthRachel Ward & John W Spink) and all our Members and Users for your continued support.

And here's to the next five years!

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The British Retail Consortium has published a new document highlighting the impact to UK consumers of leaving without a deal.

The BRC launched its “A Fair Deal for Consumers” campaign last year to stand up for consumers everywhere and ensure households can enjoy the same great value in shops long into the future. Its report, “Why Tariffs are Bad News for UK Consumers”, calls on the UK Government and the EU to negotiate a zero-tariff trade deal to avoid price increases for consumers.  

 

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6845726263?profile=RESIZE_400xIsotopic methods have been recognised by CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) and in part by the OIV (Organisation Internationale de la vigne et du vin) as a means of detecting the non-permitted presence of exogenous acetic acid and water in vinegar (CEN) and specifically wine vinegar (OIV). The methods used are EN 16466-1 for D/H in the methyl site of acetic acid [(D/H)CH3] using 2H-SNIF-NMR (Site Specific Natural Isotope Fractionation-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance), EN 16466-2 and OIV 510/2013 for analysis of 13C/12C in acetic acid (δ13C ‰) using IRMS (Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry), and EN 16466-3 and OIV 511/2013 for analysis of 18O/16O in water (δ18O ‰) using IRMS.

An international collaborative trial has been undertaken in 7 laboratories to define standard deviations of repeatability (sr) and reproducibility (sR) for vinegar and balsamic vinegar stable isotope ratios of H (D/H), C (δ13C) and O (δ18O), in order to establish them as fully recognised official standards. The laboratories analysed two samples of wine vinegar, one cider vinegar, and four balsamic vinegars. The results of the trial are in line with those in the literature or reported in corresponding official methods, and sr and sR of balsamic vinegar are in line with those of vinegar and must.

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This e-learning course has been developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS). It aims to provide you with an understanding of the theory and practice of Root Cause Analysis (RCA) exploring the method of problem-solving that identifies the causes of faults or problems in the food supply chain.

This course has been added to the Guidance Section of the Food Fraud Mitigation Section and can also be accessed here.

 

 

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6838125466?profile=RESIZE_400xMilk has been a food involved with serious adulteration incidents in the past. In addition, where milk and milk-free products are manufactured and packed on the same lines, it is important to avoid cross contamination. With this in mind, SwissdeCode and Dutch microfluidics company DigiBio have joined together with the help of European Commission funding (€2.5m grant), and in collaboration with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands and EuroStars, an EU scheme to support new product development at small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop and produce an automated detection platform - BEAMitup. BEAMitup combines a digital microfluidics platform that slots into the production line with DNA testing to give results on milk adulteration in 30 minutes without the need of technical or laboratory personnel.

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6733964462?profile=RESIZE_400xThis project aimed to develop and validate a multi-species proteomics screening tool for meat species verification in processed meat products. The method covers nine meat species: beef, pork, horse, goat, lamb, donkey, rabbit, chicken and turkey. The research has improved the original database of marker peptides for the nine animal species studied. The work has expanded previous research using high-resolution mass spectrometry to achieve detection of pork, horse, donkey, lamb, rabbit and chicken at 1% (w/w) adulteration levels. It has developed and validated a triple quadrupole mass spectrometry method suitable for simultaneous identification of the nine meat species in processed meat products. Beef, pork, horse and chicken products were used to carry out an intra-laboratory method validation.

Project FA0166 is in the Research Section of the website

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6695463089?profile=RESIZE_400xFood Standards Scotland (FSS) has issued a Press Release highlighting to food and drink businesses in Scotland to be alert for potential food crime activity in their supply chains, as its Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit (SFCIU) is aware, via recent reports, that  COVID-19 circumstances has created a factor or motivation for food crime. It is, therefore, advising businesses to remain vigilant about their food supply chains, and recommends they refer to a joint guide, developed with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Food Standards Agency on improving fraud resilience for food and drink businesses. 

Read the FSS Press Release

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881393977?profile=RESIZE_400x Five men have been arrested in connection with an investigation into how illegal horsemeat, which should have been destroyed, made its way into the food chain. The investigation, which began with raids in June 2019 in 7 locations over Ireland, is being conducted by the Gardaí along with the Department of Agriculture and The Food Safety Authority Ireland.

Read the two short press articles here and here

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6520790083?profile=RESIZE_584xThe season when tea is harvested, as well as the age of the tea can affect its quality, hence authenticating the season/age of high cost teas can be desirable. Chinese researchers have used trace elements and stable isotopes with chemometrics to characterise Pu'er tea according to its production year. Pu'er tea is prepared by drying green Chinese tea, then subjecting it to a microbiological fermentation by naturally occurring moulds, bacteria and yeasts. The tea is then pressed into a variety of shapes.

A total of 86 mineral elements and stable isotope compositions were determined from the Xiangzhujing Pu'er tea in five different production years. Different chemometric techniques were applied to find the best models to predict the production year.  Mn,68Zn, and 203Tl were the best authenticity markers for enabling the successful authentication of Pu'er tea with different production years. 

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This e-seminar, entitled “Fish speciation for food authenticity”, will introduce the viewer to the analytical needs associated with fish speciation for food authenticity, the prevalent methods used in testing laboratories within the UK and European Union, as well as provide a summary of the scope and limitations of these methodologies. 

For further information and to watch the e-seminar go to the e-Semimars tab of the Training page.

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6498960689?profile=RESIZE_400x The Italian NAS Carabinieri of Florence (Arma dei Carabinieri), supported by Europol, have closed down a network of wine counterfeiters, selling online fake premium Italian wines. Law enforcement officers carried out raids in eight Italian provinces (Avellino, Barletta-Andria-Trani, Brescia, Como, Foggia, Pisa, Prato and Rome). Empty bottles of high quality wines were gathered from restaurants, and refilled with fake wine, then marketed on a big online auction platform. The wines were sold in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States, often ending in the glasses of unaware customers of wine bars and catering services. This action is part of operation OPSON IX. Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC3) coordinated OPSON IX, facilitated the information exchange and provided technical and analytical support to the participating countries. Europol’s IPC3 is co-funded by the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) to combat intellectual property crime.

Read Europol's Press Release

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6429640493?profile=RESIZE_400x The FSA's Chief Scientific Adviser, Prof Guy Poppy has published on 17 June his review of risk analysis, which began in 2018. Risk analysis is the process of estimating risks to human and/or animal health, identifying and implementing measures to control the risks, and communicating these risks and measures to relevant parties. It has three components: risk assessment, led by science and evidence; risk management, the consideration of management options available by policy officials; and risk  communication. When the UK leaves the EU on 1 January 2021, European legislation on food and feed safety will move into UK law to provide continuation of the rules. However, the FSA and FSS will be reponsible for the most of the risk analysis functions that were previously provided by EFSA. The report outlines the FSA's response to this future change:

1. A clearer separation between our risk assessment and risk management to ensure the scientific integrity of risk assessment;
2. An expanded role for our Scientific Advisory Committees (SACs), strengthened by recruiting additional experts and by establishing three new Joint  Expert Groups (JEGs);
3. A new UK process for authorising regulated products such as food and feed additives, enzymes, 3 flavourings, novel foods, GM food and feed.

The new approach to risk analysis will also include: 
• Developing food and feed safety standards and controls based on scientific evidence e.g. policies, guidance, controls and enforcement;
• Pre-market approvals and post-market reviews of regulated food and feed products;
• Risk-based import controls;
• Handling incidents and food crime.

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6347197888?profile=RESIZE_400xLard is a cheaper saturated fat than butter. A rapid method for its detection was developed using a portable Raman spectrometer combined with chemometrics. Samples of butter adulterated with different amounts of lard from 0-100% were prepared and their Raman spectra recorded. Chemometric analysis was applied for the classification and discrimination of butter and lard-adulterated samples, as well as the quantification of lard in butter samples. This method could be applied for in-situ analysis or quality control of butter samples.

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6343007889?profile=RESIZE_400xThe illegal practice of adding sucrose to milk has increased in recent years. Sucrose is used as an adulterant of reconstituted milk to increase the total solids content. This research developed the use of  FTIR spectroscopy in combination with multivariate chemometric modelling for the differentiation and quantification of sucrose in cow milk. Trial samples of sucrose adulterated milk from 0.5 - 7.5% were prepared and analysed by FTIR. Chemometric analysis was performed on the spectra, and partial least squares regression (PLS-R) showed the best prediction of adulteration with a detection level of 0.5% w/v sucrose adulteration. The method is simple, non-destructive, quick and needs minimal samples preparation. 

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In just a few weeks, from April 6 to June 6, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, intercepted 19,555 pounds of prohibited pork, chicken, beef and duck products arriving from China.

In the first five months of fiscal year 2020, the interception of prohibited meats from China at the LA/Long Beach Seaport has increased 70% compared with the same period the year before.

Most of the unmanifiested animal products were commingled in boxes of headphones, door locks, kitchenware, LCD tablets, trash bags, swim fins, cell phone covers, plastic cases and household goods in a clear attempt to smuggle the prohibited meats.

According to USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, China is a country affected by African swine fever, classical swine fever, Newcastle disease, foot-and-mouth disease, highly pathogenic avian influenza and swine vesicular disease.

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