Mark Woolfe's Posts (401)

Researchers in China and Canada have developed a  a highly specific and robust method to identify donkey meat that coupled a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with lateral flow immunoassay (LFI). Donkey-specific PCR primers were designed by targeting the mitochondrial D-loop gene, and their specificity was verified in silico and in vitro against 22 species involved in meat authentication. The PCR-LFI assay gave a limit of detection as low as 0.001% w/w (raw) and 0.01% w/w (cooked) donkey meat in beef. The LFI strip-based visualisation of PCR products allowed for a 10-fold higher sensitivity than conventional gel electrophoresis, and significantly reduced the analysis time for the post-PCR analysis. This PCR-LFI is highly suitable for rapid identification of donkey or incorporation into multiplex screening protocol for other meat authentication. 

3559333008?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the full RSC research paper

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In response to recent reports on food tampering in supermarkets, the FDA has reminded industry that its guidance offers advice and recommendations on a range of preventive measures for retailers and food service establishments to minimise the risk of food tampering or other malicious, criminal, or terrorist actions. The guidance updated in 2007 deals with recommended actions in the following areas, management, staff, the public, physical facitlities, and operational actions. 

3559299656?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the New Food article or the full FDA guidance

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There is a potential for adulteration of emulsion-type sausages with porcine blood plasma because of its low cost, high protein and functional properties. A proteomic method for the detection of porcine blood plasma has been developed by German researchers. After a rapid protein extraction and tryptic digestion, species-specific marker peptides for porcine blood cell proteins (four markers) and plasma proteins (12 markers) were measured by UHPLC-MS/MS. The method was tested on sausages prepared from a variety of pork raw materials spiked with 0.5-5% meat substitution with porcine blood plasma powder, and subjected to different thermal treatments. The 4 plasma peptides were identified as markers for porcine blood plasma addition, and the method could detect down to 0.7% meat substitution, with a 5% error probability for both false positives and negatives.

3523688828?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the abstract here

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Pasteurised whole egg is the most commonly marketed egg product used by the food industry for the manufacture of bakery products, ice cream, fresh and dried pasta. The use of incubator-reject eggs (IRE) is not allowed under European legislation for the preparation of egg products. However, some producers fraudulently use them for whole egg products manufacture. Italian researchers studied the effectiveness of European legislative indices (β-hydroxybutyric acid and lactic acid), uracil, furosine and organic acids for IRE detection in egg products. The results show that present European legislative thresholds for β-hydroxybutyric acid and lactic acid should be lowered to effectively detect IRE's in egg products. The addition of uracil to the indices is suggested as a future additional legal parameter, and considered as a warning signal that IRE may be present. 

1133401214?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the abstract here

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Dutch RTL News broadcaster have analysed reports from both Government inspectors and Organic inspectors published between 2015 and 2018. These show some 68 companies selling food labelled as organic, which does not meet the required standards. Of these, 10 companies are thought to have committed quite serious fraud offences. Only one of these cases is being looked at by the Public Prosecution Department. RTL News reported in May, that hundreds of products are being sold in Dutch shops as organic, but which actually come from farms which have broken the rules on animal welfare, the use of medicines and the environment. Calls from farmers for a 'get-tough approach' from government inspectors are likely to go unheard and a spokesman for the NVWA (Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority) told RTL that it does not have enough staff to tackle all the fraud involving organic food. Priority, therefore, is given to cases which have implications for food safety.

1775295768?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the article here

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Jill Hoffman, McCormick &Co, gave the keynote address at the APAC (Asia- Pacific) Food Safety Conference 2019 in Sydney. She outlined the breadth of work carried out by food safety and quality professionals. However, when considering the emerging risks companies are facing, then food authenticity, fraud and sustainability should also be included in the increasing number of risks companies have to take into account. Therefore, these need to be dealt with by building a food integrity culture.

3465109688?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the article here  

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Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is frequently adulterated with olive pomace oil and other vegetable oils. Although various official chemical methods are available for the detection of common adulterants in EVOO, these methods are laborious, time-consuming, and employ toxic chemicals. Thus, researchers have been exploring more rapid and accurate analytical techniques to detect and quantify adulteration in EVOO, and this review is focused on summarising the methods developed in the past few years. The review examines chromatographic, spectroscopic, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), DNA analysis and digital imaging approaches to detecting adulteration. The review concludes that the currently used official methods should be upgraded as they are reported to be less sensitive than these latest methods.  

3436704168?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the abstract of the review here

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This research is by the same French team, who reported using elemental strontium and strontium isotopes as markers for geographic origin and authenticity of Bordeaux wines, which was reported as a 27 April 2019 News item. In this research, lead (Pb) concentrations and Pb isotope ratios of 43 authentic Bordeaux wines from prestigious châteaux and 14 suspicious Bordeaux origin were determined to evaluate their potential as markers for authenticity and geographical origin. Total Pb concentrations in Bordeaux wines have drastically decreased over the past 50 years corresponding to changes in environmental lead concentrations with a clear shift of isotopic signatures towards geological values. The Pb isotopic ratios determined in both sets of samples clearly demonstrated that the suspicious Bordeaux wines displayed Pb isotopic signatures statistically distinctive from those obtained for authentic Bordeaux wines. Three isotopic ratio signatures using the geological and environmental Pb isotopes data that characterise European and Asian sources were used to give a non-ambiguous discrimination between authentic Pauillac AOC and the counterfeit wines.   

3436675196?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the abstract here

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Researchers from the University of Glasgow and Strathclyde University have developed an artificial tongue based on nanoslices of gold and aluminium  metal arranged in a checkerboard pattern, which can detect subtle differences in how the metal "tastebuds" absorb light while immersed in a liquid sample. Statistical analysis of these differences (plasmonic resonance) have permitted different branded whiskies to be identified, and even within each brand differences of maturation for 12, 15 and 18 years could be identified. The artificial (bimetallic nanoplasmonic) tongue can be used for any liquid sample by comparing the sample's plasmonic resonance to that of an authentic liquid sample, and it does this rapidly and accurately. A paper on the artificial tongue has been published in RSC's journal Nanoscale. 

3435089563?profile=RESIZE_710xRead the University of Glasgow's Press Release or the full research paper in RSC's journal Nanoscale.  

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Adulterated saffron sold in West Sussex has led to the seizure of product worth £750,000 at a clandestine factory in Alicante, Spain. Saffron adulterated with other lower-quality plant ingredients was discovered by Trading Standards Officers from West Sussex County Council as part of a small scale market survey in 2017. The results were relayed to the National Food Crime Unit of the Food Standards Agency, who contacted the Spanish authorities. A total of 90kg of product was seized from a clandestine factory in Alicante by the Spanish authorities, and two individuals arrested.  

13069780?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the article here or the West Sussex County Council Press Release

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IBM has developed "Hypertaste" which is based on special electrochemical sensors, and instead of identifying individual components of a liquid food uses combinational sensing to give a holistic signal or fingerprint of the liquid sample, akin to human sensing of taste or aroma. The sensors are comprised of a pair of electrodes covered in a special polymer coating developed at IBM's laboratories in Zurich. The fingerprint obtained from the sensors is transferred to a mobile device such as a smart phone, where it can be downloaded  to a cloud server which will use trained machine learning algorithms (artificial intelligence) to compare the fingerprint to a database of known authentic liquids.  

3434990771?profile=RESIZE_710xRead the full article here or IBM's own news release

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A judge in Cedar Rapids, Iowa sentenced Randy Constant, the leader of a organic food fraud scheme, to 122 months in prison. Constant had from 2010 to 2017 organised farmers to sell conventionally grown maize and soyabeans mixed with a small amount of certified organic grains, as wholly organic produce. The scheme was estimated as earning around a total of US$120 million, and could have accounted as much as 7% of the US organic maize production and 8% of the US organic soyabean production in 2016. Three other farmers involved with suppying the crops were given smaller sentences.

3432894493?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the article here    

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Egyptian veterinary reseachers collected fifty samples of each type of different meat product (luncheon chicken, luncheon meat, sausage, beefburger, minced meat, and kofta) from different supermarkets in Assiut City, making a total of 450 samples. All of the samples were analysed by different microscopy techniques (light, fluorescence, histochemical microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM)) for the detection of non-muscle adulteration.  Haematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining was used for general histological examinations, and different histochemical techniques were used to stain parafinised sections.The adulterating tissues detected were:- nuchal ligament, large elastic blood vessels, muscular artery. elastic fibers, lung, cardiac muscle fibers, tendon, spongy bone, bone of immature animals, adipose tis­sue, cartilage (hyaline arid white fibrocartilage), and smooth muscle of visceral organs. SEM detected contamination of the minced meat by bacteria and yeast. Fluorescence microscopy was used as an effective method for the detection of bone and cartilage. The findings of the present work provide qualitative evaluations and the detection of unauthorised tissues in different meat products using different effective histological techniques.

1337352593?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the full paper

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A Rapid Evaporative Ionization Mass Spectrometry (REIMS) method, innovatively combined with an electric soldering iron, was developed for the  authentication of honey and identification of sugar adulteration by Chinese researchers in collaboration with Waters Corporation UK. Evaluation of the method was undertaken using monofloral honey (acacia, rape, chaste, jujube, citrus, medlar), syrup (corn and rice), and simulated polyfloral honey and adulterated syrup-honey samples. The classification of botanical origins of honey samples were achieved with a total correct rate of 99.66% through the proposed principal component analysis-linear discriminate analysis (PCA-LDA). The monofloral honey samples (acacia honey, chaste honey, rape honey) could be well distinguished from polyfloral honey (their binary and ternary mixtures). High-value honey (acacia honey) adulterated with low-value honey (rape honey) could be detected from the level of 40% down to 5%. C3 syrup (rice syrup) and C4 syrup (corn syrup) and their adulterated syrup-honey samples in different levels (5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40%) were also appropriately identified in relation to the adulteration level in a near linear tendency. The detection limit can reach 5–10% adulteration level, which can meet the requirement of real adulteration identification.

124953902?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the abstract

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Malaysian researchers have developed a heptaplex polymerase chain reaction assay targeting short amplicon length (73–198 bp) for the simultaneous detection and differentiation of cow, buffalo, chicken, cat, dog, pig, and fish species in raw and processed food using species-specific primers targeting mitochondrial cytb, ND5, and 16s rRNA genes. The assay was validated using prepared meatballs adulterated with different species  and using different process conditions. The detection limit was 0.01–0.001 ng of DNA in the pure state and 0.5% meat in meatball products. 

3326990966?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the abstract

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EFSA has identified its research priorities for the next five to 10 years, including projects to tackle food fraud. One of the priorities, under its safe food systems programme, is to find ways to make the detection of food fraud quicker through improved surveillance systems. Another under its risk assessment programme is to explore the benefits of using blockchain technology along the food chain. 

128507205?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the article and EFSA's priorities list

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Targetted surveillance testing by CFIA in 2018 found that 78% of the 240 honey samples collected from across Canada, were authentic, including 100% of Canadian honey sampled. The remaining samples found the presence of added sugars. Normally CFIA analyse honeys for the presence of sugar cane and corn syrup, while this surveillance testing also included looking for rice syrup and beet sugar in honey using a new scientific testing method. 

1682313636?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the article and the CFIA summary report

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Canada's reputation as a safe and reliable supplier of pork products during a devastating outbreak of swine fever in China and other parts of Asia could explain why a shipment to China fraudulently claimed it was cleared by Canadian inspectors. As a result of the falsified export certificate, China has now suspended shipments of pork from Canada. There are fears that a shortage of pork in China caused by the slaughter of millions of pigs during the spread of African swine fever, will give rise to similar food fraud incidents. The Canadian and Chinese aauthorities are working closely to resolve this problem.

3188235879?profile=RESIZE_710x   Read the article here

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Operation Opson VIII, coordinated by INTERPOL and Europol with police, customs, national food regulatory authorities and private sector partners in 78 countries took part in the five-month operation, which ran from December 2018 through April 2019. More than USD 117 million worth of potentially dangerous fake food and drink was seized in the  18.7 million items recovered in shops, markets and during transport checks, which also saw 672 individuals arrested worldwide.Tampered expiry dates on cheese and chicken, controlled medicines added to drink products and meat stored in unsanitary conditions were some of the offences discovered during this operation.

There were three specific targetting case studies during this operation. Case 1 -targetting organic fraud led by the EU Commission with the support of Europol was run across 16 EU Member States to detect fraudulent practices pertaining to this field. More than 90 000 tonnes of suspicious organic products were checked, after which 9 individuals were arrested by the Spanish Guardia Civil (SEPRONA).

Case 2 - 10 EU Member States took part in an action led by the UK targeting the sale of 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP), a toxic chemical which is sold as a fat burner (predominantly online). Consumption of DNP can have severe consequences for the health of consumers and has proven fatal in a number of instances.

Case 3 - run across 14 European countries in order to uncover possible fraudulent practices pertaining to coffee labelled as 100% Arabica. With the support of Europol and the EU Commission, this action focused on the substitution of pure Arabica coffee (coffee variety of the highest quality) by cheaper lowland coffee (Robusta). In total, nearly 400 coffee samples were analysed as part of this action. 

3134185755?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the Europol Press Release

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The Albanian NFA has uncovered a major fraud where vegetable fat labelled as margarine manufactured in Ukraine was imported and then sold as "butter" in Albania. The same importer also labelled some of the product as "buttermilk" and the Ukranian origin changed to Germany. After 5 inspections, the NFA fined the importer a total of Albanian Lek 2.9 million (around £21,000) and removed 47 tons of margarine from the market.

3133650063?profile=RESIZE_710x  Read the article here

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