Mark Woolfe's Posts (531)

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. 

Read the abstract here

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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.

Read the article here

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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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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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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.

Read the full paper here

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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.

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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.

Read the abstract here

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5766949475?profile=RESIZE_400xPolish researchers have used an LC-QTOF-MS/MS (Liquid Chromatography - Quadrupole Time of Flight - Mass Sepctrometer) 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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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 abstract 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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