Mark Woolfe's Posts (423)

Saffron (Crocus sativus) is the most expensive spice in the world. As a consequence, saffron has frequently been associated with an unrivalled degree of adulteration. The aim of this work was searching for DNA-barcode candidates as molecular markers to differentiate C. sativus from allied species and assessing the authenticity of saffron. A real-time PCR assay combined with high resolution melting (HRM) analysis was carried out in order to discriminate different Crocus spp., being further confirmed by sequencing. 

Abstract of this research paper can be found at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713516300093

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A study published in Ecological Applications, shows that a surge in pesticide usage has had an unusual effect on disease control in China's crops. While helping to eliminate much of a one of the top 100 invasive species, a pest known as the whitefly, it appears to actually have driven the growth of a different subtype of the same species. This now-booming subtype of whitefly is an enormous plant disease carrier—and as of 2012, it had become dominant in all but two of the 28 provinces and territories examined.

Read more at http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1113411635/overuse-of-pesticides-is-devastating-chinas-crops-study-says-122315/#OJzKcQhf25GwFGEH.99

Study reported in Environmental Applications: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1890/14-0752.1/full

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In Italy, Bill Whitaker a reporter from CBS News in the USA finds out that the long arms of the Mafia extend to agricultural products, especially olive oil, on which the mob makes huge profits by exporting imitations.

Read full article and video interview at:  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-agromafia-food-fraud/

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Happy New Year to all Members of the Network

The project team (Selvarani Elahi, Steve Ellison and myself) would like to wish all our members a happy New Year, and hope 2016 is a healthy and successful year for you all. We would like to thank you for signing up as members of the website, and would like to encourage you to take advantage of the website to answer your queries on food authenticity. In the coming year, we will be expanding the standard operating protocols (SOP) section to give direct access to agreed food authenticity SOPs. Also, we hope the laboratories applying to become Centres of Expertise will increase. The Network has been funded by Defra to help you, so please use it. 

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A new method has been developed to authenticate Basmati rice. The new duplex drop ddPCR assay is based on a previously published real-time PCR (rtPCR) method. The new method is able to screen for non-Basmati rice contents in the range of 1 % or higher. As digital PCR does not require calibrators for the quantification, the method is more economic, compared to rtPCR or microsatellite analysis. The new method gives good correlation with microsatellite analysis.

The paper can be purchased at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00217-015-2599-3

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This paper records the outcome of the latest and largest multi-species, transnational survey of fish labelling to date, which demonstrates an apparent reduction of seafood mislabelling in Europe. The authors argue that recent efforts in legislation, governance, and outreach have had a positive impact on industry regulation coupled with successful molecular biology methodology.

Read more at: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/37241/1/Mariani%20et%20al_Final-FEE-Dec2015.pdf

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This is a review paper, which focuses on important issues for consideration when validating a molecular biology assay and the various factors that can impact on the measurement uncertainty of a result associated with molecular biology approaches used in detection of food fraud, with a particular focus on quantitative PCR-based and proteomics assays.

Read more at:  http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2015/an/c5an01392e#!divAbstract

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This short review looks at three methods for identifying species adulteration - ELISA, PCR-DNA, and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).NGS uses universal primers to give amplified products, which are sequenced and then identified in a database of several thousand species.The potential for quantitative analysis without PCR exists but has yet to be fully developed.

Read more at: www.fstjournal.org/features/29-4/food-authenticity-testing

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This paper reports a protocol for screening triglyceride extracts from beef and horse meat mixtures using a 60 MHz Hydrogen NMR scan followed by principal component analysis. After obtaining an "authentic" beef and horse triglyceride regions, the assay was used to screen commercial samples of mince, and correctly identified the non-beef samples. The method would be suitable for rapid screening of raw meat materials. 

Read the full paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814614018391

Also you can watch the video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flYtDZgvHao&feature=player_embedded

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After a disastrous olive harvest, prosecutors in Turin have launched a major commercial fraud investigation. Investigators have found 'major irregularities' in the quality of top olive oils. Extra virgin olive oil costs around £6 per litre compared to £3.45 normal oil. Producers face fines of £1,400 for each mis-sold bottle of extra virgin oil 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3314223/Top-Italian-brands-investigation-passing-ordinary-olive-oil-extra-virgin-disastrous-harvest.html#ixzz3rlDCg6Ty 

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Addition of mandarin juice in orange juice has been detected using DNA methodology (heteroduplex). A new approach to identify citrus fruit varieties is given in this paper by a cooperative project from FAO/IAEA using LC-MS and analysis of specific metabolomic markers. Statistical treatment allowed adulteration to be detected down to 1%.

Read more at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713515302668

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El Niño Phenomenon Hits Food Prices

Weather-driven concerns about sugar and palm oil supplies have led to price increase of major food commodities in October, said Food and Agriculture Organization today. The FAO report released today said that its Food Price Index averaged nearly 162 points in October, up 3.9 per cent from September, while still down 16 per cent from a year earlier.

Read more at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/79a42688-83c8-11e5-8095-ed1a37d1e096.html#axzz3r5ft1n1z

FAO Report details at: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/342011/icode/ 

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The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 4, 2011 enables FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. It enables FDA to focus more on preventing food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to problems after they occur. The law also provides FDA with new enforcement authorities designed to achieve higher rates of compliance with prevention- and risk-based food safety standards and to better respond to and contain problems when they do occur.  

Read more details at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm239907.htm

and full details on the new Act and its implementation on the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/default.htm

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BEUC Report : Dishonest Labelling Still an Issue

BEUC’s latest report found croquettes containing half the quantity of meat declared on the label, sulphites used to make minced beef look fresher, and chicken sold as veal in kebabs.

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/11/06/dishonest-food-labelling-still-issue-europe-report/#ixzz3r5W0EpLS 

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Following a study of Manuka honey, Rowse Honey has concluded that more than twice as much Manuka honey is sold than produced. In addition, Rowse funded tests on the NPA value, which is an indication of the amount of methyl glyoxal, the active compound giving the honey its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  The tests showed that in many cases the the NPA value did not match the amount of methyl glyoxal that should have been present.

Read the full article at :

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3302734/It-s-honey-trap-Half-liquid-gold-manuka-sold-high-street-fake-experts-warn.html

 

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A rapid multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mass spectrometric method for the detection and relative quantitation of the adulteration of meat with that of an undeclared species is presented by IFR's Analytical Sciences Unit. The approach uses corresponding proteins from the different species under investigation and corresponding peptides from those proteins, or CPCP. Selected peptide markers can be used for species detection. The use of ratios of MRM transition peak areas for corresponding peptides is proposed for relative quantitation. The approach is introduced by use of myoglobin from four meats: beef, pork, horse and lamb. Focusing in the present work on species identification, by use of predictive tools, peptide markers were determined that allow the identification of all four meats and detection of one meat added to another at levels of 1% (w/w). Candidate corresponding peptide pairs to be used for the relative quantification of one meat added to another have been observed. Preliminary quantitation data presented here are encouraging.

Read the full article in Anal. Chem.201587 (20), pp 10315–10322  at

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021%2Facs.analchem.5b02318

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A lab-on-a-chip-based multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the authentication of five non-halal meat species in foods is described. Using species-specific primers, 172, 163, 141, 129 and 108-bp sites of mitochondrial ND5, ATPase 6 andcytochrome b genes were amplified to detect cat, dog, pig, monkey and rat species under complex matrices. Species-specificity was authenticated against 20 different species with the potential to be used in food. The assay was optimised under the backgrounds of various commercial meat products and validated for the analysis of meatballs, burgers and frankfurters, which are popular fast food items across the globe. The assay was tested to detect 0.1% suspected meats under commercial backgrounds of marketed foods.

Read more in Food Additives and Contaminants at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19440049.2015.1087060

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A method using the q-ICP-MS analysis of 19 elements has been developed to differentiate organic and conventional Brazilian rice samples. 17 certified organic samples and 33 conventionally grown rice samples from 5 different regions in Brazil were analysed, and using 19 elements it was possible to predict with 98% confidence the authenticity of the rice samples. Just using calcium and cadmium, it was possible to predict the authenticity with 96% confidence.

Read the full preliminary unedited pdf paper at:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889157515002008 

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