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:
- https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/food-authenticity-steering-group (Defra website)
- http://www.foodauthenticity.uk/asg-and-amwg (This website)