Selvarani Elahi's Posts (99)

4245619848?profile=RESIZE_180x180Following the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), BSI has considered how it can actively support and contribute towards the collective efforts in mitigating the potential risks caused by this global health issue amongst the UK business community.

It reviewed the information available to it and as a result, BSI has worked with international standards organizations to make these standards accessible for the purposes of organizations that are involved in the UK COVID-19 response.

Continuity and Resilience

  • PD CEN/TS 17091:2018 Crisis management: Building a strategic capability
  • BS EN ISO 22301:2019  Business continuity management systems — Requirements
  • BS EN ISO 22313:2020 Business continuity management systems. Guidance on the use of ISO 22301
  • ISO/TS 22318:2015 Guidelines for supply chain continuity
  • ISO 22316:2017 Organizational resilience. Principles and attributes.

Risk Management

  • BS ISO 31000:2018 Risk management — Guidelines
  • BS 31100:2011 Risk management - Code of practice and guidance for the implementation of BS ISO 31000

Community Resilience

  • BS ISO 22319:2017 Community resilience - Guidelines for planning the involvement of spontaneous volunteers
  • BS ISO 22330:2018 Guidelines for people aspects of business continuity
  • BS ISO 22395:2018 Community resilience. Guidelines for supporting vulnerable persons in an emergency

Emergency Management

  • BS ISO 22320:2018 Emergency management. Guidelines for incident management

These standards offer information and practical advice for businesses and individuals, which help the business community navigate the challenges and potential risks associated with the current global crisis.

BSI will constantly be reviewing the situation in order to ensure that we are working with businesses in the most effective and supportive way in these extraordinary times.

View Standards.

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Plant-based products are on the rise. Consumers are increasingly interested in eating a plant-based diet, as is evident by a surge in sales of these types of products internationally. According to a report by Health Focus International in 2018, 17% of consumers in the U.S. aged 15 to 70 to eat a predominately plant-based, while 60% report to be cutting back on meat-based products.

Plant-based refers to products that are free from animal-derived ingredients such as the following: additives, carriers, flavorings, enzymes, processing aids and others (or work towards being free of those ingredients). With market trends driving the food industry, brand-owners may be interested in developing new products to meet the demand. This means that suppliers, may be required to provide a site that honour’s brand claims of beingplant-based.

To support businesses to meet this shift in consumer purchasing behaviour, BRC Global Standards has published its first edition of the Plant-Based Global Standard. The Standard is based on a comprehensive management system approach and provides a framework for manufacturers to assist them in the production of plant-based food. It includes operational criteria required to be in place to ensure that plant-based products are free of material of animal origin.

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4233925226?profile=RESIZE_710xThe FSA has today published guidance to assist food businesses in responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The new guidance has been developed with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and covers a range of areas including good hygiene practice, management of employee sickness, and social distancing for specific food business settings.

It is very unlikely that people can catch COVID-19 from food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging.

The FSA is working with the food industry to ensure that businesses know what their responsibilities are and what actions they need to take to maintain safety standards and protect staff during the outbreak.

The guidance can be found on GOV.UK

 

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Overview

  • COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus which is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans, so there is still a lot of uncertainty
  • Food has not been identified as a likely source or route of transmission of the virus
  • The global food sector may be impacted both economically and socially, in relation to: human resources, such as changes in key personnel; supply chains of ingredients, packaging, finished products and equipment; sourcing as manufacturers may need to rely on alternative suppliers at short notice; transportation of people, materials and goods.

 Hygiene and Food Safety

  • Food handlers are expected to already be well informed and trained about hand hygiene in factory operations (including washrooms and canteens). In the event of lack of access to hand-washing facilities with soap and warm water, sanitisers can be used, but are not as effective if hands are visibly soiled. Please refer to IFST’s Food Science Fact Sheet on ‘Hand Hygiene’ https://www.ifst.org/sites/default/files/Hand_Hygiene.pdf
  • Meat products can be safely consumed if cooked thoroughly and handled properly, and WHO guidance mentions that individuals with underlying medical conditions should avoid contact with live animal markets and wild animals
  • In line with food safety best practice, good hygiene is important to avoid cross-contamination between raw or undercooked foods and cooked or ready to eat foods, in food preparation areas.

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The US agencies have issued letters to seven companies, and removed online listings from others, whose products falsely claim to prevent or treat coronavirus.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued warning letters to seven companies for selling fraudulent COVID-19 products that claim to treat or prevent the virus. At current there is no approved prevention or therapy for coronavirus.

According to the agencies, the products being sold are unapproved and pose a significant risk to patient health, as they may be unsafe for consumption and/or stop or delay patients getting necessary medical diagnoses and treatments.

The companies selling these products are violating federal law and may be subject to legal action, including but not limited to seizure or injunction, emphasise the organisations.

 

 

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4016008456?profile=RESIZE_710xAlthough the process for application to become a Centre of Expertise is open throughout the year, the UK Government has taken a decision to announce a formal call for new applications once a year.

If you think your laboratory can fulfil the AMWG criteria for a Centre of Expertise then please complete a self-assessment evidence proforma, providing evidence of your capabilities, and return to CoE@foodauthenticity.uk by 31 March 2020.

Your application will be processed and discussed with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and you will be notified of the outcome by the end of May 2020.

Benefits of being a Food Authenticity Centre of Expertise

  • Recognition of your organisation’s food authenticity testing expertise
  • Posters of Centres of Expertise are placed on the Food Authenticity Network website
  • Centres of Expertise are featured in Food Authenticity Network newsletters
  • Centres of Expertise have the opportunity to:
    • Potentially contribute to the resolution of future incidents of national / international importance
    • Support UK food authenticity testing capability by offering analysts advice
    • Work with the Food Authenticity Network & its members (>1,500 members from 67 different countries / territories and in 2019, >12,000 users accessed the website)
    • Work with other Food Authenticity Centres of Expertise.

Background

Following the Elliott review in 2013-14, the UK Government set up the Food Authenticity Network to help bring those involved in food authenticity testing together in a more coordinated way. The Network raises awareness of the range of methods / techniques used to check for mislabelling and food fraud and to ensure that the UK has access to a resilient network of laboratories providing fit for purpose testing to check for food authenticity so that ultimately, consumers can have greater confidence in the food they buy.

Recognising that no one organisation will be equipped with all the necessary expertise in all methods / techniques used in food authenticity testing, and across all of the food commodities, Professor Elliot’s review also proposed the creation of “Centres of Excellence” to cover the different disciplines and techniques involved.

The UK Government’s Authenticity Methods Working Group (AMWG) produced a number of criteria which outlined the type of qualities an organisation offering a particular expertise might be expected to demonstrate to become a ‘Centre of Expertise’. There is an expectation that such organisations should be prepared to engage with and offer support to others in their areas of expertise both within the Network and more widely if required.

In 2015, the UK Government invited organisations working in the food authenticity testing field to consider if they had the expertise, capability and experience expected of a Centre of Expertise and through this process, acknowledged fourteen organisations as Food Authenticity Centres of Expertise.

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The European Council has adopted conclusions on further steps to improve ways of tackling and deterring fraudulent practices in the agro-food chain.

In its conclusions the Council recalls that a high level of protection is an overall objective of EU policies concerning health, safety, environmental protection and consumer protection, and recognises that the current EU legal framework on tackling food fraud is adequate.

The Council nonetheless emphasises the need for continuous and improved cross-sectorial cooperation to fight against food fraud. This cooperation should include not only food and feed control authorities, but also authorities involved in the fight against financial crime and tax, customs, police, prosecution and other law enforcement authorities. In relation to this, the Council calls upon the Commission and member states to allocate adequate resources to ensure effective implementation of existing EU legislation by improving the shared understanding of the criteria determining food fraud.

3859201797?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Council also stresses the need to promote awareness-raising among consumers and to continue to broaden training on countering food-fraud.

Read text of conclusions.text of conclusions

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3805214109?profile=RESIZE_710xPork made from plants launched by Impossible Foods

A plant-based pork substitute has been launched in Las Vegas by one of the leading "alternative meat" producers.

Impossible Foods, the firm behind the Impossible Burger, says it hopes to appeal to a global audience with its latest vegetarian-friendly meal, which it unveiled at the CES tech show.

Pork is currently the most widely consumed meat in the world.

The company hopes the product will help it break into China. But one expert said it might find that a challenge.

The first product to feature the foodstuff - the Impossible Sausage - will be available next week at 67 Burger King restaurants in the US, in a sandwich-based dish called the Croissan'wich.

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CBD - cannabidiol - isn't marketed as medicinal cannabis. It doesn't have a psychoactive element that makes the user high. Some studies indicate it can help with childhood epilepsy seizures, and other people think it helps them too.

There has been a spike in demand within the last twelve months, according to manufacturers. Non-medicinal CBD is now on sale in High Street shops across the country, including chemists. But the National Pharmacy Association says the products need clearer information and better checks on content.

 Cannabidiol oil is being added to a range of products - from water, to chocolate, to make-up, tea and coffee. Manufacturers claim sales in the UK are as much as £300m at the moment.

It's illegal to print any health claims on the products, but it's a grey area as to who checks the ingredients, or the amount of CBD oil actually contained in each product, many of which can be very expensive. CBD is classed as a food supplement, so it's governed by the Food Standards Agency. FSA said it expects "companies to comply with the novel foods process, which includes submitting safety information about their products"."The FSA is considering the best way to ensure CBD food-related products currently on the market move towards compliance," it added.

In the meantime, customers buying any CBD product have no guarantees if the product is safe, or indeed if it contains any CBD oil at all.

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3708557211?profile=RESIZE_710xThe herbal products, sold worldwide as medicines or foods, are perceived as low risk because they are considered natural and thus safe. The quality of these products is ineffectively regulated and controlled. The growing evidence for their lack of authenticity is causing deep concern, but the scale of this phenomenon at the global, continental or national scale remains unknown.

Reserachers analysed data reporting the authenticity, as detected with DNA-based methods, of 5,957 commercial herbal products sold in 37 countries, distributed in all six inhabited continents. The global survey shows that a substantial proportion (27%) of the herbal products commercialized in the global marketplace is adulterated when their content was tested against their labeled, claimed ingredient species. The adulterated herbal products are distributed across all continents and regions. The proportion of adulterated products varies significantly among continents, being highest in Australia (79%), South America (67%), lower in Europe (47%), North America (33%), Africa (27%) and the lowest in Asia (23%).

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A US federal bill that would require plant-based and cell-cultured meat products to be labelled as ‘imitation’ meat has been welcomed by beef producers and slammed by plant-based meat advocates, as the row over terminology in the burgeoning space heats up. The bill would mean that any imitation meat product would be deemed to be misbranded unless its label bears the word ‘’imitation’’ as well as a statement that clearly indicates that the product is not derived from or does not contain meat. The term beef would exclude both plant-based and cell-cultured meat from using the term. The bill is aimed at transparency of products to consumers. Read full article.

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An introduction to DNA melting curve analysis

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This e-seminar, entitled “An introduction to DNA melting curve analysis”, describes the principles behind, as well as best practice guidelines for the application of the post-PCR analytical method of DNA melting curve analysis. The information presented will provide the viewer with a general introduction to PCR-based DNA melting analysis as a method for food authenticity testing, and provide guidance on how to design, implement and analyse PCR DNA melting assay data. Topics covered will include the principles underpinning DNA melting analysis, designing PCR DNA melting assays, examples of PCR instruments compatible with DNA melting analysis, and guidance on troubleshooting. Those who should consider viewing this e-seminar include individuals currently working within the foods molecular testing area, particularly representatives from UK Official Control Laboratories, industry and members of organisations associated with the UK official control network.

View e-seminar here.

The production of this e-seminar was funded by Defra, FSA, FSS and BEIS under the Joint Knowledge Transfer Framework for Food Standards and Food Safety Analysis.

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3674633424?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Royal Society of Chemistry has published a book on 'DNA Techniques to Verify Food Authenticity'                       (https://doi.org/10.1039/9781788016025), which includes a chapter (number 26) on the Food Authenticity Network.

 About the book:

The food supply chain needs to reassure consumers and businesses about the safety and standards of food. Global estimates of the cost of food fraud to economies run into billions of dollars hence a huge surge in interest in food authenticity and means of detecting and preventing food fraud and food crime. Approaches targeting DNA markers have assumed a pre-eminence.

This book is the most comprehensive and timely collection of material from those working at the forefront of DNA techniques applied to food authenticity. Addressing the new field of analytical molecular biology as it combines the quality assurance rigour of analytical chemistry with DNA techniques, it introduces the science behind DNA as a target analyte, its extraction, amplification, detection and quantitation as applied to the detection of food fraud and food crime. 

Making the link with traditional forensic DNA profiling and describing emerging and cutting-edge techniques such as next generation sequencing, this book presents real-world case studies from a wide perspective including from analytical service providers, industry, enforcement agencies and academics.  It will appeal to food testing laboratories worldwide, who are just starting to use these techniques and students of molecular biology, food science and food integrity. Food policy professionals and regulatory organisations who will be using these techniques to back up legislation and regulation will find the text invaluable. Those in the food industry in regulatory and technical roles will want to have this book on their desks.

 

Author information:

The editors possess unrivalled expertise and are keen to describe and foster advances in the key area of DNA techniques applied to food authenticity. Dr Lucy Foster is an experienced food scientist, and head of food research including authenticity research at Defra, for many years commissioning studies of global reach. Dr Malcolm Burns is an internationally recognised molecular biologist and expert in DNA quantitation. Dr Michael Walker was a founder board member of the Food Standards Agency, a subject matter expert to the Elliott Review, is Head of the Office of the Government Chemist, and, with a thriving consulting practice, is an experienced expert witness.

 

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3640762870?profile=RESIZE_710xAdulteration is a growing food safety concern worldwide. Previous studies have implicated turmeric as a source of lead (Pb) exposure due to the addition of lead chromate (PbCrO4), a yellow pigment used to enhance brightness. This study aimed to assess the practice of adding yellow pigments to turmeric and producer- consumer- and regulatory-factors affecting this practice across the supply chain in Bangladesh.

Nine major turmeric-producing districts of Bangladesh, as well as two districts with minimal turmeric production, were identified and visited. In each district, semi-structured interviews were conducted and informal observations were made with individuals involved in the production, consumption, and regulation of turmeric. Perceptions of and preferences for turmeric quality.

Samples of yellow pigments and turmeric were collected from the most-frequented wholesale and retail markets. Samples were analysed for Pb and chromium (Cr) concentrations via inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and x-ray fluorescence.

The study found evidence of PbCrO4-based yellow pigment adulteration in 7 of the 9 major turmeric-producing districts.

Turmeric wholesalers reported that the practice of adding yellow pigments to dried turmeric root during polishing began more than 30 years ago and continues today, primarily driven by consumer preferences for colourful yellow curries.

The results from this study indicate that PbCrO4 is being added to turmeric by polishers, who are unaware of its neurotoxic effects, in order to satisfy wholesalers who are driven by consumer demand for yellow roots. The study recommends immediate intervention that engages turmeric producers and consumers to address this public health crisis and ensure a future with Pb-free turmeric.

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3549856866?profile=RESIZE_710xRachel Gullaksen, Sean Daly and Malcolm Burns (from left to right) looking at multispectral imaging applications for food authenticity

The Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) aims to help protect businesses and consumers from fraudulent supply chains through building relationships with industry, delivering crime prevention initiatives and conducting thorough, proportionate investigations where necessary. This is to support the Food Standard Agency to deliver its overarching strategy that “food is safe and is what it says it is”.

Following an increase to its budget, the NFCU has seen significant extension of the unit’s capabilities and remit in terms of its investigation and crime disruption capabilities and the prevention of food crime. As part of its outreach programme and as a follow-up to a meeting between Darren Davies, Head of the NFCU and the Government Chemist, Julian Braybrook and Selvarani Elahi in May 2019, colleagues from the NFCU visited LGC.

Selvarani Elahi gave a presentation on the Food Authenticity Network, highlighting the benefits of closer collaboration between this growing global network and the NFCU, both of which were created by the UK government to address the recommendations of the Elliott Review.

NFCU colleagues were taken on a tour of LGC’s National Measurement Laboratories where LGC staff demonstrated research on a range of technologies from point-of-use screening to confirmatory methods capable of combating food crime or food fraud .

 

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Food Authenticity Newsletter: Issue 10

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The Food Authenticity Network turned four in July 2019 and looking back to when it was first established on 14 July 2015, we could not have imagined that in four short years and with relatively modest funding, we could have grown to a membership of over 1,130* from 58 countries / territories and a Twitter following of over 1,548. The website has also achieved a Google PageRank score of number 1 for a search on the term ‘food authenticity’ and the equivalent on Twitter.

In case you missed it, Issue 10 of the Food Authenticity Network Newsletter was published in July and contains news from the Network, three interesting articles and a further Centre of Expertise profile:
•News from CEN on Food Authenticity
•Increased activities of the Food Standard Agency’s National Food Crime Unit.
•Application of Artificial Intelligence and smart phone to authenticate food in situ.
•Achievements of the EU Project FoodIntegrity project.
•Centre of Expertise profile from Minerva Scientific

Download your copy here.

*Google Analytics shows that the website is actually being accessed by ~8,000 unique users annually.

 

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3435350351?profile=RESIZE_710xThe EU FoodIntegrity project has published a number of Scientific Opinions on difficult stakeholder derived issues that concern food fraud. The topics were all identified by stakeholders and are intended as documents that describe best practices. The published Scientific Opinions can be found here under the 'Scientific Opinions' tab.

The latest Scientific Opinion published is on "Use of NMR applications to tackle future food fraud issues". The SO discusses how both targeted (allows the identification of specific markers of identity/adulteration for a given foodstuff) and untargeted (the chemical profile of the whole foodstuff is used to create a unique fingerprint as a reference for suspect samples) NMR methodologies are applied in routine use for food fraud monitoring. The cost-effective approaches for routine application are discussed using examples of Food Screener™ and benchtop low-field instruments.

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The Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) co-hosted a meeting on the 18 July 2019 on the negative impact of illicit trade on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The special UN dialogue exposed where and how progress on the SDGs is inhibited by illicit trade in some of the world’s most important economic sectors.

"From smuggling, counterfeiting and tax evasion, to the illegal sale or possession of goods, services, humans and wildlife, illicit trade is compromising the attainment of all 17 of the UN SDGs," stated TRACIT Director-General Jeffrey Hardy. "It is crowding out legitimate economic activity, depriving governments of revenues for investment in vital public services, dislocating millions of legitimate jobs and causing irreversible damage to ecosystems and human lives."

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The UK food industry has asked the government to waive aspects of competition law to allow firms to co-ordinate and direct supplies with each other after a no-deal Brexit.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said it repeatedly asked ministers for clarity on a no-deal scenario.

Existing rules prohibit suppliers and retailers discussing supply or pricing.

The industry says leaving in the autumn could pose more supply problems than the original Brexit date last March.

The FDF, which represents a wide range of food companies and trade associations, said: "We asked for these reassurances at the end of last year. But we're still waiting."

The boss of one leading retailer told the BBC: "At the extreme, people like me and people from government will have to decide where lorries go to keep the food supply chain going. And in that scenario we'd have to work with competitors, and the government would have to suspend competition laws."

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