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6201677901?profile=RESIZE_400x Organic milk attracts a premium over conventionally produced milk. Reading University and other consortium partners have completed a European Horizon 2020 project using metabolomics and NMR technology on 1,900 samples of organic milk collected on farms and at retail in the UK and Finland, to develop a test to authenticate organic milk.  

Read the project leaflet here

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6201174075?profile=RESIZE_400x Demand for avocado oil is increasing in view of its nutritional value and health benefits. Researchers from the University of California have undertaken a study on  22 samples of avocado oil purchased locally or on-line, 5 of which were Californian, the rest were imported mainly from Mexico. The oils were tested for rancidity (peroxide value and free fatty acids), purity and composition (tocopherols and sterols). The results indicated that the majorityof the oils were oxidised before reaching the quality expiry date listed on the bottle. In addition, substitution with soybean oil at levels near 100% was confirmed in two “extra virgin” and one “refined” sample of avocado oil. The authors have called for need to develop standards for avocado oil to ensure consumer protection, and a level playing field in the global trade of avocado oil. 

Read the University of California News Release and the full paper.

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The Food Systems Dashboard is a new tool that aims to describe global, regional and national food systems; to assess the challenges for improving diets, nutrition and health; and to guide its users to set priorities and decide on actions.

The need for this tool was identified by Jess Fanzo at Johns Hopkins University and Lawrence Haddad at The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) in 2018 when working on the team that wrote the UN High Level Panel of Experts on Food Systems and Nutrition report. 

The data are publicly accessible via the online Dashboard, which has a well-designed and easy-to-navigate user interface, as designed by iTech Mission with user testing and feedback from our team and additional pilot testing and modifications planned following the launch. The Figure  shows how food systems data are transformed from original data sources to metadata that can be altered through data structural changes and visual mapping resulting in graphical views of data. iTech has visual information design experience across a range of platforms, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Dashboard.

The Dashboard is intended as the primary resource for decision makers to find curated, high-quality data and analytics on their country’s food systems. The data gives users insight into the state of their food systems and their effects on nutrition and health. The Dashboard also suggests parts of the food system that may require corrective action through actionable indicators. 

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6075297078?profile=RESIZE_400x The EUIPO Status Report 2020 published this month, brings together its reporting work on intellectual property at EU and at global level. It also contains research on the volume of counterfeit and pirated goods in international trade, and the economic contribution of intellectual property-rights intensive industries to economic growth and jobs. According to a study carried out by EUIPO and the OECD in 2019, estimates of IPR infringement in international trade in 2016 could reach as much as 3.3 % of world trade. Hence, it is estimated that up to 6.8 % of EU imports, or EUR 121 billion per year, are fake goods.  In a series of sectorial studies, the EUIPO has estimated lost sales in 11 sectors in the EU (directly in the industries being analysed and across their associated supply chain), as a result of counterfeiting. These  losses totalled more than EUR 83 billion per year during the period 2013-2017. In addition, more than 671 000 jobs in legitimate businesses were lost, and the Member States lost EUR 15 billion per year in tax revenue.

A Joint Europol/EUIPO Poly-criminality Report also published in June, suggests that counterfeit goods increasingly being linked to the actions of organised criminal networks and other illegal activities such as drug trafficking, manslaughter, illegal arms possession, forced labour, food fraud, excise duty fraud, VAT fraud, corruption and money laundering.

Read the news article here

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The BSI (British Standards Institute) Kitemark is already one of the most recognised symbols of quality and trust, offering value to consumers, businesses and procurement practices.To help food sector organisations improve consumers’ trust in their products, BSI now offers the Kitemark™ Food Assurance Programme. This reassures consumers and organisations about a specific characteristic of a product. It ensures a product is produced in compliance with key aspects of consumer expectation, from purity and origin to environmental and fair production practices.The new programme has formed a partnership with Fera, which will be part of the Kitemark programme development team and, when applicable, be responsible for the testing procedures to validate the product’s Kitemark claim.

More information on the Kitemark Food Assurance Progamme here

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6054485892?profile=RESIZE_400x Squalene is a triterpene, and tyrosol is a simple phenol. Both are found in relatively high amounts compared to other terpenes and phenols respectively in extra virgin olive oil, and are reduced significantly during refining to produce refined olive oil. Both squalene and tyrosol can be determined by hplc (high performance liquid chromatography) after extraction with 2-propanol or liquid-liquid extraction respectively. The feasability of this screening method was first tested on measuring the two markers in 10 commercial samples of EVOO, one commercial sample of virgin olive oil, 2 commercial samples of olive oil (a blend of extra virgin and refined olive oil), and 10 types of vegetable oils. In addition, the method was tested on 6 brands of blended oils (5 of which were 20% EVOO/80% sunflower oil, and one 30% EVOO/70% grapeseed oil). Further samples of olive oil using 50% EVOO, and blended oils with 20% EVOO were prepared. After determining squalene and tyrosol in all of the samples and plotting squaline on the y-axis, and tyrosol on th x-axis, there was discrimination between EVOO and all the other samples, and olive oil samples were differentiated from blended oils. Although this showed feasibility of the screening method, more samples at different concentrations of EVOO, and of virgin olive oil are required to find the sensitivity of the method.

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The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) is allowing temporary flexibility in food labelling requirements for manufacturers experiencing difficulty sourcing some ingredients during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has published temporary guidance to allow for minor formulation changes without updating labels, in order to help minimise the impact of supply chain disruptions associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic on product availability.

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The Covid-19 outbreak has caused problems in certain sectors of the food supply chain, for example in meat processing plants, air freight of fresh produce. It means that many food manufacturers are struggling to obtain the all the ingredients in a global food chain for their food products. It also means that the shorter the food chain the less risk there is, and local supply chains are benefitting from this situation.

Read the article here

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5849088062?profile=RESIZE_400xNot from concentrate (NFC) orange juice sells at a premium compared to orange juice from concentrate. Chinese researchers have used untargeted metabolomics followed by identification of potential markers from standards to distinguish the two types of orange juice. This produced 91 and 42 potential markers present in NFC orange juice using the mass spectrometer injection in positive and negative mode, including 7 tripeptides (reported for the first time in orange juice). A partial least squares discriminant analysis model, based on the potential markers in positive mode was constructed and validated with 97% and 95% accuracy for training and test. The model was successfully applied to commercial samples, and one NFC brand of orange juice was found to be possibly mislabelled.

Read the abstract here

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5767594452?profile=RESIZE_400x Blockchain technology is becoming increasingly used in the food supply chain to improve traceability, but the trade-offs between implementation challenges and achievable impact remain unclear. Danish researchers have undertaken a study on six cases of blockchain-based technologies in the food supply chain by applying a technology assessment framework that distinguishes between four different components of a technology: technique, knowledge, organisation, and product. The results highlight how blockchain is not a stand-alone-technology, but rather one element in a system of technologies. While blockchain-based technologies are expected to bring a variety of impacts, only some are directly attributable to the blockchain element such as increased transparency, traceability, and trust. Other impacts such as improved data management are a side-effect of digitising non-digital processes. The long-term impacts of implementing blockchain in the food chain are not yet proven, and require further study.

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5766949475?profile=RESIZE_400xPolish researchers have used an LC-QTOF-MS/MS (Liquid Chromatography - Quadrupole Time of Flight - Mass Spectrometer) approach for detecting and identifying rabbit-specific peptide-markers from thermally processed meat products to differentiate rabbit from other commonly-consumed animal species. The instrument identified 49 heat stable peptide markers from rabbit myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic proteins. When 11 heat treated rabbit based pâtés were analysed, 3 of the 49 heat-stable peptides were consistently detected in all the pâté samples and hence considered robust markers for rabbit. Pork, lamb and chicken-specific peptides were also monitored in the pâté samples, and undeclared chicken was found in two of the pâtés.

Read the abstract here

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India is Facing a Serious Food Fraud Problem

5758891462?profile=RESIZE_400xThe FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) analysed 106,459 food samples across India in 2018-19, and found over 15.8% of the food samples were sub-standard, 3.7% unsafe, and 9% mislabelled. The FSSAI have accused 10 Indian states of being unable to ensure food security for consumers as they lack the workforce and adequate food testing laboratory infrastructure. In addition, a research report by Uttra Pradesh based Harcourt Butler Technical University found 70% of adulterated mustard oil in markets in Kanpur, a city known for its important markets for edible oil.

Read the article with further examples here

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5758031681?profile=RESIZE_400x The publication of the EU Food Fraud Network 2019 Annual Report was announced on May 19.The European Commission has given details of the proceduresof the Administrative Assistance and Cooperation System (AAC), and illustrated this with an example of an olive oil investigation. The AAC is an IT system developed and managed by the European Commission. An EU country can contact the competent authorities of another EU country and share information in a secure manner, which can lead to administrative actions, administrative sanctions or judicial proceedings. This exchange of information is an essential element for effective cross border investigation and for strategic assessment of the threat of fraud, which is at the heart of the exchange of information of the Food Fraud Network.

The 2019 Annual Report reveals that the top category of food investigated was fats and oils, with 44 recorded instances of administrative and investigative actions. Read the article here

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Business reputation and trust are as critical now as they’ve ever been.

It is the actions of our leaders, the cultures they create and the employee behaviours that they influence which correlate with how much stakeholders trust a company.

However do leaders appreciate the link between their leadership style and its impact on their teams?

Tenet’s white paper:

- Explores the key risks which arise from the way an organisation is led.

- Debates the role of leadership in driving a culture which increases the risk of fraud.

- Investigates what can be done to reverse unethical behaviour.

Read white paper.

This paper has also been added to the 'Reports' section of our Covid-19 Resource Base and our Food Fraud Mitigation section.

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As food is now sourced globally, it is important that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has a good understanding of the global drivers of food fraud (root causes of why food fraud incidents occur) that impact the UK and which of the available tools can help it best protect the UK food supply from these influences.

 A Defra funded project is in progress to address these needs. A literature review and expert workshop, held in January 2020, identified food fraud drivers and food fraud mitigation tools.

The aim of this survey is to get your views on the outputs of the literature review and expert workshop so that the most commonly used tools can be selected for evaluation in phase 2 of the Defra project.

The survey will take 10 minutes or less to complete:

Complete Survey

We thank you in advance for your assistance and kindly request that the survey is completed by Friday 19 June 2020.

The Food Authenticity Network Team

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The European Commission is still developing an integrated system to combat food fraud to match that of the safety of food and feed in the EU. The European Commission (EC) Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality (part of the Joint Research Centre) is charged with the provision of scientific insight for the policy making of EC services dealing with food fraud, and the creation of expert networks with the competent authorities of the EU Member States. The Centre undertook a stocktaking exercise of what works well, and which areas will need improvement for competent authorities to fight food fraud. This exercise highlighted (i) the development of early warning systems, (ii) the availability of compositional databases of vulnerable foods, and (iii) the creation of centres of competence as priorities for further action.

Read the full article here 

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5327452655?profile=RESIZE_400xAfter several months of consultation the European Commission has adopted and published on 20 May its ambitious "Farm to Fork Strategy" aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly. It is made up of 27 actions that will aim to make the European food system a global standard for sustainability. In terms of concrete targets, the Commission proposed an ambitious 50% cut for the use and risk of pesticides, as well as a 50% reduction of highly hazardous pesticides, a 20% cut in fertiliser use and a 50% reduction of antibiotic use in farming and aquaculture, all by 2030 and compared to the EU’s current level. It is also planned to address the issue of food loss and waste, step up the fight against food fraud and strengthen EU animal welfare rules, as well as provide clear information and empower consumers to make healthy and sustainable choices thanks to an EU-wide mandatory food labelling.

Read the article or the full EU Food to Farm Strategy and associated documents


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5326712490?profile=RESIZE_180x180Foods with names, which are linked directly or indirectly to a designated geographic origin are protected in law by a European based system of protected denomination of origin (PDO) and protected geographic indication (PGI). This study examines whether past protection of GIs through 11 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) has increased trade in them. The answer matters for trade policy, since the protection of at least some GIs has been a red line in EU FTA negotiations. The findings of this study show that that legal protection of GIs in FTAs does not significantly increase trade in them. Hence, the suggested policy implication is that the EU should focus on external promotion of its GIs rather than asking trading partners for stronger legal protection. 

5326802477?profile=RESIZE_180x180Read the full paper here

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UK POSTnote on Food Fraud is Published

5253502081?profile=RESIZE_584xThe Food Authenticity Network is proud to have contributed to the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) note on Food Fraud.

The POSTnote provides an overview of food fraud, including its drivers and impacts. It discusses methods for food authenticity testing, broader strategies to prevent food fraud and impacts of EU exit.

 Key Points

  • Foods that are commonly reported to be adulterated include herbs and spices, coffee, seafood, honey and olive oil.
  • In addition to affecting consumer choice and confidence, food fraud may pose a public health risk. In 2016, a restaurant owner was sentenced to prison after substituting almond powder with mixed nut powder containing peanuts, resulting in the death of a customer.
  • Other impacts on consumers include loss of nutrition and inadvertent consumption of foods that are normally restricted for ethical or religious reasons.
  • Businesses may suffer financial losses following food fraud incidents due to factory closure, product recalls or destruction of contaminated ingredients or products. Companies may also suffer reputational damage.
  • A range of UK laws and regulation contribute to preventing food fraud. The majority of law relating to food in the UK is based on the Food Safety Act 1990, which prohibits food which is not of the nature, substance or quality that consumers would expect, and describing or presenting food in a false or misleading way.
  • Public bodies responsible detecting and mitigating food fraud include local authorities, government departments and regulators. In England, Defra is responsible for policy and legislation on food labelling and composition. It is also responsible for the Government’s food authenticity research programme, which identifies risks to food authenticity and develops and validates food testing methods.
  • Strategies to detect and prevent food fraud broadly fall into two categories: scientific analysis to test the authenticity of foods and broader mitigation strategies including intelligence gathering, vulnerability assessments and economic analysis strategies.
  • Each food business has its own approach to testing the authenticity of its products. Food retailers often have contractual agreements with suppliers that require them to carry out authenticity testing of their ingredients. Large food retailers, such as supermarkets, typically have their own routine monitoring programmes.
  • There are a variety of analytical techniques that can be used to test for adulterated food and drink and often a combination of methods will be used.
  • Testing can be targeted (whereby the analysis looks for a pre-defined characteristic, such as a specific adulterants or section of DNA), or non-targeted (whereby multiple measurements of a sample are taken using a variety of techniques to obtain a sample’s ‘chemical fingerprint’)
  • Barriers to tackling food fraud relate to the cost and capability of authenticity testing, perpetrators changing their mode of operation, and a complex regulatory enforcement system.
  • The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said that there is no evidence to suggest the UK will be at more risk from food crime after the Brexit transition period. However, some stakeholders have raised concerns that EU exit may impact the UK’s vulnerability to food fraud.
  • Concerns relate to checks on food imports, the UK’s food testing capacity and the extent of UK access to EU food fraud intelligence networks.

Read full POSTnote.

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5195179470?profile=RESIZE_400xCOVID-19 is disrupting food systems globally and governments must stabilise food supply chains and thoughtfully expand social safety nets now to avert social unrest. Lessons learned from the 2008–2012 food price crises globally, which caused riots in 50 countries, point to seven actionable points to consider.

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