Mark Woolfe's Posts (378)

Chinese researchers have developed a method for the rapid visual detection of adulterated meat based on both the lateral flow strip (LFS) platform and on polymerase chain reaction (PCR). After the rapid extraction of genomic components from meat, the on-site amplification of the target DNA of  duck meat is carried out with the rationally designed functional FITC- and biotin-modified primer set, thereby producing numerous double-stranded DNA  products dually labelled with FITC and biotin. The FITC-labelled terminal end of the products binds to the pre-immobilized FITC antibody on the test line of the strip, and the biotin-labelled terminal end binds to the streptavidin-conjugated gold nanoparticles, resulting in a visible test line on the LFS for the rapid identification of duck meat in adulterated beef. After optimization, an adulteration ratio as low as 0.05% can be easily measured. Twenty two commercial processed meat samples were tested with this new method, and 4 adulterated samples were successfully identified by both the routine PCR method and the new LFS method. The LFS method is simple in design, convenient in operation, and can be easily extended to the identification of other adulterating meat species just by replacing the modified primers. 

 Read the abstract here

 

 

 

 

Example of a lateral flow strip for target DNA detection

 

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Ecuadorian prawn producers, who are members of the Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP), have teamed up with the Food Trust ecosystem, which will provide a blockchain database to safeguard traceability and integrity from farm to fork so that consumers can have complete trust and assurance on what they are buying. SSP’s members, which comprise of responsible prawn producers based in Ecuador, will enter data about how the prawn is produced onto the blockchain system. Ultimately, retailers around the world will be able to see this data and trace it at every stage so that they can ensure the quality of the prawn they are selling to consumers. SSP plans to enable consumer access via an app, enabling individuals to view provenance data about the prawns they buy.

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NSF International, working with a retailer, are launching a blockchain traceability service for the beef supply chain. The service will link details of individual cattle on farms all the way through to consumer purchases. Each animal will be given a unique identifier built into a RFID ear tag, along with a sample of DNA and its GPS farm location. As the animal matures, details of its weight and age are entered into the blockchain database, with all the other details as it is processed along the supply chain. This will allow all the supply chain partners to access the blockchain database to improve transparency and traceability. Information about an animal's provenance and quality will even be available to consumers via a mobile phone app and QR code on the pack of beef.   

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Because there is such a high worldwide demand for cinnamon spices, true cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) powder is often adulterated with another inferior quality of cinnamon known as cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum). Korean researchers employed Fourier transform near-infrared (FT-NIR) and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopic analysis to determine the spectral differences in authentic and adulterated samples. Absorbance spectra of 195 samples of true, cassia and various adulterated samples (5-50% w/w adulterant) with 15 replicates for each sample  were collected. The partial least square regression (PLSR) models with spectral pre-processing methods were applied to predict the presence of cassia cinnamon in true cinnamon powder. The predictive value of FT-NIR data was greater than the FT-IR data. The study shows that FT-NIR and FT-IR spectroscopic techniques combined with multivariate analysis could be utilised as a controlled procedure or as an alternative rapid detection method to identify adulterated cinnamon powder.

 Read the abstract here

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Bordeaux wines are highly valued and sought after, and hence vulnerable to counterfeiting. French reseachers have used strontium concentration and strontium isotope ratios as markers for Bordeaux wine geographic origin and authenticity. Forty three authentic Bordeaux wines were collected from the world’s most prestigious Bordeaux châteaux. The Sr elemental composition and 87Sr/86Sr ratio were determined on these authentic wines. The results demonstrated relatively small variabilities for 87Sr/86Sr ratio and Sr concentrations in the authentic Bordeaux wines, which can be used with reasonable certainty to identify regional Bordeaux wineries and distinguish them from counterfeit wines.

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The addition of cheaper offal (brain, large intestine, liver, heart and kidney) is difficult to discern in minced beef, although there are ELISA methods for some offal tissues detailed on this website. This research paper details the first use of rapid evaporative ionisation mass spectrometry (REIMS) to eliminate sample preparation and provide near-instantaneous results of the presence of offal in minced beef. REIMS was applied with chemometric analysis to give unique or significant markers of beef brain, heart, kidney, large intestine and liver tissues permitting detection and identification in beef mince. The adulteration levels detected with the REIMS technology when analysing raw adulterated beef burgers were; brain (5%); heart (1–10%); kidney (1–5%); large intestine (1–10%) and liver (5–10%). For boiled adulterated samples; brain (5–10%); heart (1–10%); kidney (1–5%); large intestine (1–10%) and liver (5–10%). 

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The trial reported on the website on 25 January ended on 16 April, with convictions for the four accused. The court found Jacques Poujol, the former director of the meat processing company Spanghero in southwestern France, guilty and sentenced him to two years in jail and confiscated €100,000 seized at Poujol's home. Poujol will serve six months in jail and be on probation for a further 18 months. Moreover, he is prohibited from working in the meat industry for two years. Spanghero Manager, Patrice Monguillon was given a one-year suspended sentence. The two were also found guilty of tampering with the evidence.

Dutch middleman Johannes Fasen, who orchestrated the mislabelling of some 500 tonnes of meat, which in 2012-13 was sold to the ready meal manufacturer Comigel in Metz, France, was given a two-year sentence and his partner, Hendricus Windmeijer, received a one-year suspended sentence. Both men were previously convicted of similar crimes in the Netherlands in 2012.

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The EU Food Fraud Network allows Member States (and some other European countries) to work together with the European Commission on reporting cross border cases of food fraud. The number of cases reported to the Network in 2018 rose from 178 in 2017 to 234 in 2018. Germany made up a quarter of the cases 58 up from 52 in 2017, France reported 32 cases, Belgium 23, and UK only 8 cases. The top three foods involved were fish and fish products 45, meat and meat products 421, and oils and fats 29.

Read the article here and the full 2018 EU Food Fraud Network Report

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German and Italian researchers have used a proteomics based assay to distinguish wild from farmed salmon. A total of 13 farmed and 13 wild Canadian salmon (Salmo salar) species were extracted and digested with trypsin. The peptide digest was analysed by an optimised LC- MS system(quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer) followed by statistical analysis based on principal component (PC) analysis.This untargeted approach, using a data-independent acquisition MS scheme, demonstrated the ability to effectively discriminate salmon belonging to the two classes. Furthermore, selected peptides showing high loadings on PC1 could represent potential targeted candidate peptide markers able to discriminate farmed from wild-type salmon.

 Read the abstract here and the complete journal paper

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Given the rise in international and e-commerce trade, and the lack of statistics about how much fraud takes place in this type of trade, the objective of this study by Italian researchers was to evaluate the authenticity of some Italian PDO cheese and meat products purchased on the internet. Real-Time PCR analysis revealed that 20/28 (71.4%) dairy PDO products and 24/52 (46.1%) PDO meat product samples involved species substitutions differing from their PDO specification. The study highlights the problems and risks faced by e-commerce consumers, and shows that better assurance is required to protect consumers purchasing food on the internet.

 Read the abstract here

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German researchers have developed and undertaken an in-house validation of an LC-MS and LC-MS/MS-based assay for authenticity testing of certain fish species. An enzyme digest and trypsin hydrolysis of freeze dried samples of commercially available Lutjanus malabaricus (red snapper) and Sebastes spp. (redfish) were analysed by LC-electrospray-MS and MS/MS assay with multivariate analysis, which enabled the two species to be  distinguished from each other. An additional 68 samples [nine additional marine species such as pangasius (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus), salmon (Salmo salar), turbot (Scophthalmus maximus), plaice (Pleuronectes platessa), sole (Solea solea), lemon sole (Glyptocephalus cynoglossus), halibut (Reinhardtius hypoglossoides), red salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), and great scallop (Pecten jacobaeus)] served as blinded negative controls to ensure the specificity of the assay. 

 Read the abstract here, or the complete research paper

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Analytical methods for authenticity testing of organically grown vegetables are urgently needed. Danish researchers have developed a novel assay for organic authentication based on stable isotope ratio analysis (SIRA) of oxygen in plant-derived sulphate. This method was compared with SIRA of bulk plant tissue and plant-derived nitrate to discriminate organic and conventionally grown potato, carrot, and cabbage from rigidly controlled long-term field trials and from a case study using retail potatoes. The results indicated that oxygen isotope ratios of sulphate from organic vegetables were significantly lower compared to their conventionally grown counterparts, and the values were directly linked to the fertilisation strategy. The classification power of sulphate isotope analysis was superior compared to known bulk tissue isotope markers and nitrate isotope values, and hence represents a promising new method for authentication of organic vegetables.

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Rice is the second most important food staple worldwide. In order to prevent fraud, there is the need for an effective and rapid technique for monitoring the origin and quality of rice. This study investigated the novel application of a hand-held NIR spectrometer and chemometric analysis to estimate the quality and country of origin in real-time. A total of 520 rice samples of different quality grades (high, mid and low quality) and different countries (Ghana, Thailand, and Vietnam) of origin were used. Among the pre-processing methods used, multiplicative scatter correction (MSC) was found to be superior. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to extract relevant information from the spectral data set and the results showed that rice samples of the different categories could be clearly clustered under the first three PCs using the MSC preprocessing method. For determining rice quality grades, the classification rate gave 91.62% and 91.81% in training set and prediction set respectively. While the identification rate based on different countries of origin was 90.84% and 90.64% in both training set and prediction set respectively. Differentiation of local rice from the imported, the identification rate was 100% in both the training set and prediction set.  

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Multi-needle injectors can potentially add large amounts of water rapidly to meat and fish. In order to hold in this water during freeze thawing and cooking of the meat, strong water holding agents have to be added such as salt, polyphosphates, hydrolysed collagen proteins, and vegetable gelling agents. The process can be used fraudulantly, unless the ingredients are declared according to labelling legislation. Brazilian researchers have developed a rapid method based on Raman spectroscopy and chemometrics to determine the presence of salt, sodium tripolyphosphate, and carageenan. One hundred and sixty five samples of beef injected with single, binary and tertiary mixtures of the three water holding agents were prepared. Raman spectra were run on all the samples, using 112 of them as the training set and the other 53 as the test set. The best PLS-DA model was built with 4 latent variables and successfully discriminated adulterated samples at relatively low rates of false negative and false positive results, which varied from 8.0 to 11.7%. 

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Between the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2018, DGCCRF (DG for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control) carried out a survey to check the country of origin of kiwis marketed in France. Investigators focussed on one Italian company exporting kiwis into France, and by checking customs and cross-border information with Italian officials, found that the imported kiwis were marketed as French produce. This company is being prosecuted in Italy. Suspicions also were roused by phytosanitary residues found on the Italian imported kiwis, which led to another seven French companies being found incorrectly labelling the country of origin of Italian kiwis. In all, it was estimated that around 15,000 tonnes of the kiwi fruit (12% of the French kiwi market) were being sold as French produce when in fact they were grown in Italy, which because of the price differential between French and Italian kiwis, were yielding a profit of around € 6 million. Prosecutions have been initiated against these seven companies.

 Read the article here and the DGCCRF survey report in French

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In this review, methods have been assessed for the identification of the most common materials used to adulterate coffee by dilution, to establish the geographic origins, the genotypes of beans, and to assess the authenticity of Kopi Luwak coffee (where beans have passed through the digestive system of an Asian palm civet cat). The current analytical difficulties in the authentication of coffee are highlighted and suggestions made to improve the situation.

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The study was commissioned by the Honey Integrity Task Force, an organisation made up of representatives from the entire honey industry including importers, packers, producers, marketing cooperative members and an organisation that specialises in the honey supply chain. Two sample each of 30 honeys were collected from the top selling brands, accounting for approximately 40% of the honey sold in the U.S. retail market. The labels were masked and one set each were sent to two laboratories in Germany that specialise in honey testing, QSI and Intertek. Each lab conducted two adulteration tests, the AOAC-approved 998.12, 13C-Isotope Mass Spectrometry and 13C-IRMS (EA IRMS)/ +LC-IRMS method for C4/C3 adulteration.  Both tests are well recognised methods designed to determine if any sugars were added to the honey.The results on 28 of the samples confirmed that they were not adulterated. Two of samples tested as being "adulterated". One was an imitation honey made with maltitol syrup, and the other was a blended product with both corn syrup and honey, neither were labelled as pure honey.

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Canada’s has announced that its long-awaited national food policy is getting $134.4 million over five years. The programme will focus on tackling food waste, improving community access to healthy food, shining a spotlight on Canadian food both at home and abroad, and increasing food security in Northern and remote communities.  Within the programme, $24.4 million is earmarked to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) fight food fraud. The goal will be to detect instances where food or ingredients have been deliberately tampered with or are being misrepresented. Examples of potential food fraud could also include misleading labels on food packaging.

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Spanish authors have published a chapter in a new book - "Mass Spectrometry - Future Perceptions and Applications", reviewing the use of LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry) in a wide number of authenticity applications. The chapter discusses the use in targeted analysis with or without chemometrics for identifying polyphenols to authenticate different fruits, vegetables and honey. It also reviews the use of LC-HRMS (High Resolution Mass Spectrometry) with chemometrics in targeted applications identifying biomarkers in saffron, fruits, cocoa beans, spices and rice. Non-targeted LC-MS applications for metabolomics in a wide range of foods are also covered.

Read the open access chapter  

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