Mark Woolfe's Posts (192)

This post-graduate course is the result of a partnership between the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen's University Belfast and multinational analytical laboratory instrument and software company Waters Corporation. It offers professionals the chance to learn remotely on a part-time basis from renowned experts to increase their knowledge of the threats to feed and food compromising food security, and also about the techniques and methods which can be used to confirm food safety and integrity. Topics include concerns around food fraud, authenticity and traceability, the links between chemical contaminants and human and animal health, the biological hazards and threats posed by animal feed and food, the various technologies used to enable rapid and early detection of food safety issues, and the current and future global food legislation needed to ensure and maintain sustainable food safety production. The course is currently accepting applications for October 2017 and February 2018 start dates.

Read the article and see a video at: On-line Masters in Food Fraud

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Sea-Pac Owner Prosecuted for £200,000 Fish Fraud

Sea-Pac owner Alistair Thompson, 70, from Lonmay, Aberdeenshire, admitted fraud at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, and has been prosecuted and given the maximum number of unpaid community hours. He arranged for Shetland Products and Fraserburgh Freezing and Cold Storage labels to go on salmon, because they were approved for export to Russia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Read the article at: Sea-Pac Fish Fraud

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Fake Olive Oil Making its Way to the UK Market

Fake" olive oil is on its way to British supermarket shelves, experts have suggested, as large quantities of low quality produce are being produced in Italy. The surge of fake oil is anticipated as the production costs of olive oil have rocketed by up to 40 per cent as a result of poor 2016 harvests, the falling pound, and supermarket pricing.

Read the article at: Fake Olive Oil

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Researchers at the Complutense University of Madrid  have developed an electrochemical biosensor, which is able to recognise a DNA fragment virtually unchanged in the more than 4,500 mitochondrial genomes of horses sequenced, and absent in the rest of mammalian species. This biosensor is capable of discriminating in only one hour, and with statistically significant differences between beef unadulterated and adulterated with only 0.5% (w/w) of horsemeat.

Read the article at: Biosensor for horsemeat 

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Polish researchers have identified unique heat stable peptide markers from soya, cow's milk and egg white using trypsin hydrolysis and LC-Q-TOF-MS/MS. The source of the peptides were main allergenic proteins, namely soya glycinin and β-conglycinin, milk α-S1-casein and the whey protein β-lactoglobulin, as well as egg white ovotransferrin and lysozyme C. These peptides were able to detect undeclared ingredients in poultry products such as sausages, frankfurters and sausages, as an alternative method to ELISA or PCR-DNA methods. This method would be useful for both allergen detection and food authenticity.

Read the full paper at: Peptide markers for soya, milk and egg   

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NFU Mutual Consumer Survey on Food Fraud Published

NFU Mutual’s Food Fraud Report 2017, published on 7 September, reveals that takeaways are the least trusted type of food outlet (42%) followed by online (21%) and convenience stores (16%). The new research by the hospitality business insurer reveals that only 12% of people have confidence in the European food chain and just 7% in the global chain. Almost three quarters (72%) believe there to be an issue with food fraud in the UK, with over a quarter also believing that they have personally experienced it (27%).

Read the articles at: NFU Mutual Consumer SurveyNFU Consumer Survey on Food Fraud 2

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China's food industry has demonstrated a sustained growth trend since the 1980s; however, the years between 1980 and 2012 witnessed a worrisome food integrity situation. In recent years, the situation is improving after the Chinese government's implementation of food safety regulations. This paper analyses the national food spot check data in 2016 in order to understand the current status of food integrity in China.  The data covers almost all kinds of food in the market, and it reveals that overuse of food additives, microbial contamination and subpar food quality indicators are the top three factors limiting food integrity. The illegal use of sweeteners, colourants and sulphites are also regarded as food authenticity problems.  Additionally, the paper discusses other challenges that affect food integrity in China, and we make suggestions for improving food integrity.

Read the full paper at: Study on Spot Check Data in China

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The ability to detect the undeclared addition of a juice of lesser economic value to one of higher value (juice-to-juice debasing) is a particular concern between apple and pear juices due to similarities in their major carbohydrate/polyol profiles. Individual unique fingerprint phenolics have been identified in apple juice and pear juice, and an additional plant hormone compound (absisic acid) identified in pear juice. Additionally, the HPLC-PDA (high performance liquid chromatography with a photodiode array detector) profile of pear juices in combination with pear fingerprint compounds including arbutin could be used to identify samples originating from China versus those from other geographical locations.

Read the abstract at: Markers in Pear and Apple Juice

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This book covers the science of stable isotope measurement, sample preparation and testing of biological and geological elements. It also covers using isotopes for verification of origin and authenticity of plant based foods, fruits and vegetables, flesh foods, dairy products, vegetable oils, organic foods, alcoholic beverages, and some other miscellaneous foods. It brings the reader up to date with the latest developments in this area.

The contents and first couple of chapters can be found at: Food Forensics: Stable Isotopes as a Guide to Authenticity and Origin

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The potential adulteration of kid or lamb rennet with calf rennet is of interest for some PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) cheeses producers and those looking for a specific cheese authenticity. The researchers developed an immunoassay (indirect ELISA), and used a monoclonal antibody (mAb) raised against bovine pepsin. This mAb was found to be specific neither  cross-reacting with the pepsin of other animal species (kid, lamb, pig) nor with other milk-clotting enzymes (chymosin and microbial enzymes). Using prepared test samples of kid and lamb rennets spiked with a wide range of calf rennet (from 0 to 100% v/v), the presence of bovine pepsin was detected at low levels down to 6 mg/L in kid and lamb rennets, with a good linear relationship in the range 1.25–120 mg/L.

Read the abstract at: ELISA for bovine rennet adulteration

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IBM is working towards the 2017 beta launch (the next stage after internal development) of a food-provenance service based on blockchain technology. An outline of its planned offering, which has yet to be formally launched, has emerged recently as a result of presentations by company executives at supply chain industry events. Dubbed simply "Food Safety Solution," the service, which should be available in beta at the end of this year, is targeting a wide range of entities that make up the food supply chain ecosystem, including growers, food processors and distributors, as well as logistics providers and retailers.

Read the full article at: IBM block chain technology nearly ready

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Three US NGOs have filed a lawsuit against Sanderson Farms, which is the third largest chicken producer in the USA for falsely describing its chicken as "100% natural". Traces of antibiotics, steroids, growth hormones banned in chicken production and even ketamine, a powerful anaesthetic with anti-depressive and hallucinogenic properties, were found on multiple occasions during inspections of the company's processing plants by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Determining whether a product can be labelled 100% natural is approved by the USDA, which grants that label to a product if it contains "no artificial ingredient or added colour and is only minimally processed"—meaning that the product was processed in a way that does not "fundamentally alter the product." Advertising and marketing, however, does not require pre-market USDA approval, but the company has  not only played up the notion that its chickens are "free of antibiotics before they leave the farm" in its television commercials, but has also mocked other companies, which advertise their poultry as lacking added hormones or steroids on the grounds that it's "illegal" to give such products to chickens.

Read the full article at: 100% natural chicken challenged in the US

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Hand Held Device to Prevent Whisky Fraud

At any one time the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) will be pursuing around 70 legal actions globally to prevent the sale of products being “passed off” as Scotch whisky when they are not. The industry has worked together to develop mobile authentication technology, which can be deployed locally, and is used widely across the industry to provide fast and effective identification of individuals brands. The device uses a patented technique - modulated Raman spectroscopy, which allows identification of whisky non-invasively from the outside of the bottle.

Read the full article at: Hand held device for whisky authentication

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Fine Wine Fraud Uncovered

Food fraud costs the global food industry an estimated US $60 billion annually, while wine fraud probably lies in the region of US $15-20 billion (mainly centred around the fine wine market). This Australian article is interested in fake Penfold fine wines, but it is fine wines from the French and other European vineyards that get the most attention from counterfeiters. At the top of the list are Domaine de la Romanée Conti and Chateau Petrus which fetch stellar prices at wine auctions, closely followed by the Bordeaux first growths of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Latour. 

Read the full article at: Fine wine fraud

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Spanish researches combined two DNA methods which allowed almost 100% assignment of the genus Merluccius spp. (hake). A combination of two RFLP methods - Hake-ITS1-RFLP (89%) and Hake-Cytochrome b–RFLP (83%) permitted a 97% assigment rate. When applied to the Spanish market, it was found that 31% mislabelling of hake-based products was observed in northern Iberia markets, and a 15% mislabelling by the wrong hake species affected 60% of deep frozen products. A 16% mislabelling by other fish species substitution affected 40% of cooked products.

Read the abstract at: Mislabelling of hake species in Spanish markets

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Allied Market Research have published a new report that estimates that the global market in food authenticity testing was valued at $4,978 million in 2016, and is estimated to reach $8,300 million by 2023, registering an annual growth of 7.7% from 2017 to 2023. PCR methodology accounted for more than one-third share of the total market.

Read the article at: Review of food authenticity market

Read an abstract of the report at: Food Authenticity Market Report

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Chinese researchers measured the free amino acid content in five unifloral honeys (Chinese chastetree, acacia, rape, lungan and jujube) from different locations in China using reverse-phase HPLC. Multivariate statistical analyses of the 16 amino acids employing CA (cluster analysis), PCA (principal component analysis), and DA (discriminant analysis) showed that samples could be classified correctly according to their botanical origin. Additionally, DA offered a more precise mode to determine the botanical origin of Chinese honey.

Read the full paper at: Amino acids in Chinese honey

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