Mark Woolfe's Posts (446)

3823828176?profile=RESIZE_710xThis review provides general information about olive oil and the possible causes of adul­teration, mislabelling, counterfeiting, and fraud of the product. It reviews the possible adulterants in olive oil, the underly­ing causes of adulteration, and how to test for the pres­ence of these adulterants. Data on trade and market dynamics are included. Also, the review focuses primarily on current deceptive practices in the global olive oil trade rather than historical adul­terations.

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3822242868?profile=RESIZE_710xIndian researchers have developed a PCR method based using 3 different primers on the mitochondrial gene 12S rRNA. The method produces a cow specific amplicon (346bp) and a buffalo specific amplicon (220bp). The method can detect 0.5% addition of buffalo milk to cow milk. Although this test has been used in India to determine buffalo milk adulteration of cow milk, it could be adapted to determine cow milk adulteration of buffalo milk e.g. in the case of mozzarella cheese.

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Managing the Risk of Fraud in the Spice Industry

2018414?profile=RESIZE_710xJill Hoffman, McCormick &Co, outlines all the steps companies dealing with the spice trade can take to mitigate fraud. This includes a fraud assessment management system, a vulnerability assessment, and actions such as analytical testing to address any vulnerability. All of these are incorporated into a food fraud management programme, which admittedly may take some time to mature..

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3820997074?profile=RESIZE_710xThe FDA has launched its Food Defense Plan Builder (FDPB) Version 2.0 software programme, which is a user-friendly tool, designed to help owners and operators of food facilities create a detailed food defence plan specific to their facility and products. It is designed to assist food operators with meeting the requirements of the Mitigation Strategies to Prevent Food Against Intentional Adulteration regulation (21 CFR Part 121) (IA rule). The software provides a simple-to-use, fill-in-the-blanks system that—when finished—can generate a complete report that is consistent with FDA’s existing regulations and guidance on food defence. While the finished report that the software generates does not constitute FDA approval of a food defence plan, the tool certainly goes a long way in helping a processor organise, create and document a detailed food defence program and strategy.

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3817388095?profile=RESIZE_710xAlthough infrared (IR) spectroscopy is often used as a simple and rapid method to screen for economically motivated adulteration in spices, conventional microscopy remains the reference method. In this research, micro-FTIR imaging, along with PCA (Principle Component Analysis) were used in combination with microscopy to develop a non-targeted method for detecting a broad range of organic and mineral bulking agents that could potentially be used to adulterate black pepper. The method has been validated, and the results are classed as typical or atypical, where the latter indicates a high probablity of adulteration, and is followed up with a multitool investigational approach for the detection and identification of the potential adulterant.

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3820840016?profile=RESIZE_710xASK restaurant chain was fined £40,000 in Swansea Magistrate Court  on 14 January for misleadingly describing one of their dishes - "Aragosta e Gamberoni" (lobster and king prawns). The lobster component of the dish was a reformed product containing only 35% lobster with white fish protein and white fish. Sales of the dish amounted to £3m across the UK since it was launched in 2014, though the charge spanned the period between 1 December 2016 and 20 March 2019 - when Swansea Trading Standards alerted ASK and removed the dish from its menu.

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3817380870?profile=RESIZE_710xIn order to verify labelling compliance and evaluate the existence of fraudulent practices, 250 sausage samples were purchased from local markets in Sichuan Province and analysed for the presence of DNA from chicken, pork, beef, duck and genetically modified soybean using real-time and end-point PCR methods. In total, 74.4% (186) of the samples were properly labelled, while the other 25.6% (64) were mislabelled and potentially adulterated samples.The most common mislabelling was the undeclared addition of, or contamination with, duck meat, which is cheaper than pork or chicken.  

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3817313276?profile=RESIZE_710xSmoked salmon is a high value product, and it is misleading to consumers if it is sold chilled but has been previously frozen/thawed. Italian researchers prepared three groups of products each with 36 samples - Group A stored chilled, Group B frozen at −18°C for 30 days, and Group C stored at −3°C for 30 days. Histological slides of all the samples were prepared, and given to two experienced microscopists as blind samples, who were able to accurately distinguish between chilled and previously frozen/thawed smoked salmon.

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A USDA National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which requires US food manufacturers and importers to label food for retail sale disclosing information about its GMO content, becomes mandatory on 1 January 2022. Although the US food industry has two years to implement the new rule, a deadline of 1 January 2020 is when food manufacturers have to decide whether and how they will need to make GM ingredient disclosures, and what records they will be required to keep. The new rule does not cover foods, which are highly refined e.g. vegetable oils, where the GM DNA is not detectable, and small companies with less than US$ 2.5 million sales are exempt from disclosure.

3465109688?profile=RESIZE_710xHowever, many larger US companies are awaiting the US Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to issue guidelines on how the new rule will be enforced, and what will be required. AMS is committed to provide two different sets of instructions for use by food manufacturers, importers and certain retailers. The first set of instructions, released on 17 December 2019, covers how companies can validate or verify the accuracy of a refining process to render bioengineered material undetectable. AMS is taking comments on the draft instructions until 16 January 2020. AMS will publish a second set of instructions to provide guidance for companies on how to select testing methods to determine whether a food product or ingredient contains detectable levels of GM genetic material. 

There is flexibility as to how GM foods are disclosed.Companies with annual sales of more than US $2.5 million can use digital codes, list BE ingredients in text on their label, put one of two BE symbols on their packaging, or supply consumers with a number they can text to receive information via their cellphone. In addition to these, companies with $2.5 million to $10 million in annual revenues can also disclose via a website or a phone number that consumers can call to hear the disclosure. Industry sources say they expect most companies to disclose GM ingredients via digital codes, such as the SmartLabel system. 

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3816977698?profile=RESIZE_710xAuthorities in Spain and Portugal, coordinated by Europol, have uncovered what they are calling a criminal network involving contaminated clams that were responsible for the food poisoning of at least 27 individuals in Spain. The investigation into the trafficking of contaminated clams resulted in dismantling this criminal network involving poachers, intermediaries and distribution companies, and the location of hideouts where harvested clams were stored in Portugal. The criminal network was active for at least a year earning up to €9 million with more than 1 000 tonnes of illegally caught clams. The illegal clams were harvested in Portugal, and then moved to Spain for the most lucrative seasons – the summer and the end-of-the-year holidays. After a brief clean up, the contaminated clams were sold in markets and restaurants. Washing the clams eleminated the bacteria (E. coli), but did not eliminate the viruses (Norovirus genogroup I and II and Hepatitis A). 

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50525777?profile=RESIZE_710xRomanian researchers have applied FT-Raman spectroscopy and metabolomics to classify a sample set of 126 wines, originating from Romania and France, with respect to cultivar, geographical origin and vintage. Cultivar recognition was successfully achieved for four grape varieties (Sauvignon, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris), and the subtle particularities existing between the Chardonnay wines, coming from the two countries, because of terroir influences were observed. In addition, a 100% separation in both initial and cross-validation procedures for geographical differentiation between the two origin countries, as well as, among the three Romanian areas (Transylvania, Muntenia and Moldova) were obtained. The limitations of this approach, and the importance of choosing meaningful data sets, in terms of representativity for each classification criterion, are addressed in this paper.

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Two Long Island, New York, companies and their owners have pleaded guilty to mislabelling giant squid from Peru as octopus, which commands a higher retail price than squid. From 2011 to 2014, the defendants imported, processed, marketed, sold, and distributed over 51,000 kg of squid worth US $1.1 million that they had falsely labelled as octopus. The defendants admitted to defrauding over ten grocery stores that in turn sold the seafood product to consumers. The defendants await their sentencing.

3777228231?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the article here

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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 gov.uk website and EU Commission's website

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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. 

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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. 

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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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