Organisations

Defra and its Expert Food Authenticity Committees

The Department for Environment, Food, Rural Affairs (Defra) is the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Defra’s broad remit means it plays a major role in people's day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink.

The Food Authenticity Steering Group (ASG) aims to identify emerging issues in food authenticity and gaps in science and testing methodology that will help to protect consumers by addressing food fraud and misleading food labelling activity. The ASG sets priorities for the Government’s food authenticity programme based on horizon scanning, market intelligence and assessment of the science capability and evidence base.

The Authenticity Methods Working Group (AMWG) provides a challenge function to ensure that the food authenticity research is based on sound science and that the methodology being developed is robust, practical, and defensible in terms of its scientific principles. It advises on the transfer of new methodology to testing laboratories and on generic analytical issues of methodology such as quantitation, limits of detection, etc. It also considers emerging technologies and innovation in science and technology; and how these can be used analytically to address evolving technical requirements to support food authenticity testing, and new regulatory requirements such as the European ‘Food Information to Consumers’ Regulation.

In June 2013 AMWG set up a Technical Sub Group (TSG) to undertake detailed review of new technical developments in analytical science and to consider how these might be used to solve particular (existing or emerging) problems in food authentication. This group was instrumental in developing the science to resolve issues around achieving fit for purpose quantitative meat speciation in processed meat products. The TSG also reviews and analytically quality assures food authenticity research specifications before these are put to tender. This approach provides a clear mechanism for ensuring that methods are fit for purpose and is in line with the recommendations on assay fitness for purpose as set out in the Elliott Review.

Read more at:

Food Standards Agency and Food Fraud

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is a non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It is responsible for protecting public health in relation to food throughout the United Kingdom and is led by a board appointed to act in the public interest.

The FSA enforcement team tackle issues related to food fraud.

The national Food fraud database is an important resource for detecting emerging patterns of fraudulent activity, and for local authorities seeking information to assist with their investigations into food fraud incidents.

The Food Fraud Advisory Unit provides advice to local authorities carrying out investigations into fraud including any illegal activity relating to food or animal feed.

Read more at:

https://www.food.gov.uk/enforcement/foodfraud

LGC

LGC was awarded the contract for coordinator of the Virtual Authenticity Network in response to an invitation to tender by Defra.

LGC is an international life sciences measurement and testing company, building leading positions in sustainably growing markets. LGC's offering is underpinned by its  heritage and expertise in regulation, accreditation and standard setting. LGC provide reference materials, genomics solutions and analytical testing products and services, based on its innovations and own intellectual property. LGC works with customers in the pharmaceuticals, agricultural biotechnology, food, environment, government, academic, security and sports sectors to achieve excellence in investigative, diagnostic and measurement science.

Read more at:

http://www.lgcgroup.com/

Government Chemist and 2014 Annual Review

LGC is the home to the UK Government Chemist (GC).

The GC provides expert opinion, based on independent measurement to help avoid or resolve disputes pertaining predominantly to food and agriculture, and advice to Government, devolved administrations and the wider community dependent on analytical science. As such, the LGC must be at the forefront of analytical science and expert in analytical methods and their application to a wide range of areas including food authenticity. As the GC is, by law, the analytical arbiter, independence and impartiality are essential in the execution of this function. LGC has been fulfilling this important statutory function for over one hundred years.

The review of GC for 2014 has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-chemist-annual-review-2014

Food fraud - authenticity featured heavily in the GC referee casework for 2014.

EU Food Integrity Project

The integrity of European foods is under constant threat from fraudulently labelled imitations that try to exploit that added value. The FoodIntegrity project (European Union funded) will directly address this issue and will be an international focal point for harmonisation and exploitation of research and technology for insuring the integrity of European food. Comprising an inner core of project participants from industry, academia, research institutes, technology providers and a global network of stakeholders, FoodIntegrity will rationalise and harmonise capability to provide a coherent structure and process for assuring the food supply.

 Improved verification procedures will be developed for food control and industry stakeholders using 3 key commodities as exemplars: olive oil, spirit drinks & seafood. In addition a consumer study in China will assess their consumer attitudes in the face of substantial counterfeiting of European food.

Finally it will establish expert food authenticity platforms that will supply independent expert opinion on food authenticity/food fraud to the European Commission, Codex and other national/international bodies.

 Read further information at:

https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/foodintegrity/index.cfm

EC Food Fraud Network

In accordance with Articles 34 to 40 of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 EU Member States must cooperate with one another to ensure enforcement of food law across borders.

The horsemeat scandal showed that one of the weaknesses of the current system of enforcement along the food chain was the difficulty for Member States’ competent authorities to communicate efficiently with their counterparts in other Member States for the purposes of ensuring enforcement in cases of violations having cross-border impact.
The Commission decided therefore to activate a dedicated network of administrative assistance liaison bodies that would handle specific requests for cross-border cooperation in cases of “food fraud”. The dedicated liaison bodies are referred to as “Food Fraud Contact Points” (FFCP). They act, as all administrative assistance liaison bodies, within the legal framework provided in Title IV of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004. The group of FFCPs is collectively referred to as the “Food Fraud Network” or FFN.

By engaging in their Administrative Assistance and Cooperation duties, the FFCP and the FFN help to improve the capability of competent authorities to:

  • detect and prevent violations of food chain rules, also across borders and in potential cases of “food fraud”;
  • collect the information which is needed (in accordance with applicable national rules) to further refer a case to investigation/ prosecution.

Read further information at:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/official_controls/food_fraud/index_en.htm

Association of Public Analysts

The Association of Public Analysts (APA) is an independent, professional association whose members are appointed Public Analysts. Public Analysts are the highly skilled scientists who form the primary scientific base of the United Kingdom’s public protection enforcement service where chemical analysis and related testing are appropriate. In Scotland Public Analysts are also responsible for microbiological examination of food.

For further information on the work of the APA see:

http://www.publicanalyst.com

 

Royal Society of Chemistry

The Food Authenticity Network will be supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the world’s leading chemistry community, advancing excellence in the chemical sciences.

With more than 51,000 members and an international publishing and knowledge business, the RSC is the UK’s professional body for chemical scientists, supporting and representing its members and bringing together chemical scientists from all over the world.
A not-for-profit organisation with a heritage that spans 170 years, RSC has an ambitious international vision for the future. Around the world, it invests in educating future generations of scientists. RSC raise and maintain standards. It partners with industry and academia, promoting collaboration and innovation. RSC also advises governments on policy and promote the talent, information and ideas that lead to great advances in science.
In a complex and changing world, chemistry and the chemical sciences are essential. They are vital in our everyday lives and will be vital in helping the world respond to some of its biggest challenges.

RSC is committed to promoting, supporting and celebrating inclusion and diversity. It understands that the success of our community depends on our ability to nurture the talent of the best people regardless of who they are or their background.

It’s working to shape the future of the chemical sciences – for the benefit of science and humanity.

For further information read: http://www.rsc.org

Global Food Traceability Center

Launched in 2013, the Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) is a collaborative partnership including public and private stakeholders, created to address the challenges and opportunities of global food traceability implementation.

The Vision

To become the global resource and authoritative voice on food  traceability.

Supported by its Founding Sponsors, the GFTC serves all  aspects of the food system by generating knowledge that addresses research  gaps, and delivering applied research, objective advice, and practical  expertise about global food product traceability and data collaboration for  private benefit and public good.

The Mission

To serve all  aspects of the global food system by generating knowledge that addresses  informational gaps while delivering applied research, objective advice,  and practical expertise about food product traceability and data  collaboration for private benefit and public good. 

For further information visit:

http://www.ift.org/gftc.aspx

The Insitute of Food Science and Technology (IFST)

IFST is the leading membership body for food professionals in Europe. A key focus of ours is to ensure the safety of food through providing support and resources to our members who are involved in food production, distribution, and preparation. 

Food professionals responsible for the delivery of safe food need to be highly experienced and knowledgeable in their roles as well as fully up-to-date with the latest developments and current threats. 

Within our food safety site we offer a wide range of resources to ensure that food safety professionals, involved in all parts of the food supply chain, are kept up-to-date with the most current food safety and fraud issues.

For further information, visit the IFST website.

The Institute of Food Safety Integrity & Protection (TiFSiP)

The Institute of Food Safety Integrity & Protection (TiFSiP) is an inclusive membership organisation for individuals and organisations who work to keep food safe, healthy and trustworthy. It facilitates collaboration among the food community and keeps members informed about new ways of working and protecting consumers. One of TiFSiP’s primary area of focus is food integrity, alongside food safety and hygiene, nutrition and health, and food sustainability.

TiFSiP works to ensure members have information to underpin the development of the skills and capabilities necessary to deliver safe food by:

  • Helping members to understand food safety and integrity requirements, through provision of analysis of issues and case studies.
  • Facilitating Continuing Professional Development e.g. through webinars and events (currently UK based), as well as through development of knowledge from the online information provision.
  • Providing opportunities for networking, online, through TiFSiP’s private and public communities.
  • Encouraging collaborative working, formal or informal, with peers and experts across the food community (for example, updating professional colleagues or developing good practice advice).

For further information, visit the TiFSiP website.

The Food Fraud Group (@foodfraudUK)

The Food Fraud Group (@foodfraudUK) at University of Portsmouth. Tackling the growing problem of by research and training provision.

The Food Fraud Group, established in 2014, brings the unique skill set of the University of Portsmouth to the growing global problem of food fraud.  This covers a wide range of economically motivated frauds, ranging from false labelling to substitution or adulteration of foods. In some cases, food counterfeiting has fatal consequences. 

Organised crime and a lack of evidence of the extent of food fraud are part of the problem (The Observer 3 May 2014). The potential of forensic audit and counter fraud techniques to detect and prevent food fraud is being recognised but the food industry recognises that it must acquire ‘a new skill set’ to use them.

At Portsmouth, we have leading research and teaching in the areas of counter fraud, forensic accounting and audit, forensic investigation, systems analysis and digital forensics.  In the group, we bring together this expertise to tackle the issues of evidence, fraud intelligence and skills.

Food fraud courses

We have launched two courses for the food industry.  These are:

Michigan State University’s Food Fraud Initiative

Our mission is to leverage Michigan State University’s broad leadership position to protect the global and domestic food supply from Food Fraud vulnerability. We are a collaboration point for a wide range of stakeholders including industry, domestic and international agencies, associations, and other academics. Aligned with the Land Grant mission of MSU, we apply research, education, and outreach from theory to practical application with those stakeholders. The research forms the base for the development of new educational programs, which is applied to evolving outreach engagements. Feedback from those outreach engagements provides insight and direction for our research.

Our education programs dovetail with our outreach engagements. We have expanded from our graduate course in Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection and the Graduate Certificate in Food Fraud Prevention to provide a free and more accessible open, online course – the May 6–24, 2013 Food Fraud Overview MOOC.

What’s a MOOC?

A MOOC is a massive open online course, a hot new development in open learning. MOOCs invite large-scale participation and are free to anyone in the world via the web. The aim of universities offering these courses is to expand their reach beyond just the classroom to potentially millions of new students.

The Food Fraud Overview MOOC is provided by MSU free to all interested parties across the supply chain and across the globe. The Overview MOOC is a two-session, 2-hour webinar accompanied by assessment quizzes. Students who successfully complete the assessments will receive an MSU Food Fraud Overview MOOC Credential.

As more people become aware of the concept and the vulnerabilities of Food Fraud, they will also become more effective at not only intervention and response but also at prevention – the more participants in the MOOC, the safer our global food supply chain can be. The MOOC doesn’t just define the problem, it also focuses on prevention. This MOOC is positioned as a bridge between general webinars and more intensive programs such as the graduate course, graduate certificate, or even a Food Fraud focus in a Master’s degree. Please click here to Register Now.

The International Food Authenticity Assurance Organization (IFAAO)

The International Food Authenticity Assurance Organization (IFAAO) is an industry driven membership based non-profit organization created to address the growing challenge of determining the authenticity of food ingredients.

Through the international representation and collaboration of its Board of Directors, management team, members and public/private partnerships, IFAAO is to be the central global source of intelligence and advancement in food authenticity. As a public forum for the exchange of ideas and best practices around food fraud and authenticity, IFAAO is a place for stakeholders to gather in a single, non-competitive environment.

IFAAO is a central hub for the collection and dissemination of food authenticity information, data and research. Unconstrained by geopolitical boundaries or private sector alliances, IFAAO and its collaborative partners are uniquely placed to position themselves as the leading global authority on food authenticity.

As a nonprofit organization which holds Codex Alimentarius Observer Status, IFAAO operates for research, scientific, and educational purposes to:

• Define food authenticity and build awareness around the need.

• Educate and train the public and industry with respect to food authenticity.

• Research and publicly disseminate information about the connection between food authenticity and  

  nutrition.

• Enable the non-competitive sharing of experiences in the management of food integrity.

• Aid in the advancement of the creation of a harmonized international standard that will help to establish the authenticity of food ingredients.

• Facilitate grants for research which advances the field of food authenticity.

• Offer guidance to the food industry regarding food authenticity.

IFAAO's mission is to create a harmonized and definitive standard for the positive identification of authentic food ingredients.  The standard will spur the creation of novel methods and technologies and dramatically improve the safety of the foods that we eat.

By creating and publishing molecular profiles or fingerprints for each unique food type through the IFAAO initiative, it will be easier to establish authenticity for each different kind of food or food ingredient – no matter their country of origin or production. This would in turn lead to increased trade in authentic ingredients and foods, build prosperity and increase global health.

Our current focus commodities include:

•Milk  

•Eggs

•Fruits and Vegetables                            

•Honey                                      

•Seafood, Meat & Poultry

•Spices, Seasonings & Flavorings