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Risk assessments during the pandemic

7857648483?profile=RESIZE_710xBarbara Hirst, Food Safety and Quality Consultant, and Marta Ahijado, Head of Food R&D at RSSL, spoke with New Food Magazine about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected supply chains, risk assessments and analytical testing.

The pandemic has changed how businesses operate enormously, including their ability to perform physical risk assessments on site, creating new challenges and uncertainty for manufacturers and retailers. For example, disruptions to supply chains can introduce the need for businesses to source new ingredients from new suppliers.

Read the full story on the New Food website to learn more from Barbara and Marta about how businesses are adapting to ensure their assessments are accurate.

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7857420698?profile=RESIZE_710xThe State of Counterfeiting in India 2020 report, performed by the Authentication Solution Provider's Association (ASPA), determined that counterfeit incidents rose by nearly a quarter between 2018 and 2019, with a 21% rise specifically in the food & beverage sector.

The rise in food fraud could negatively impact India's new "Make In India" campaign, which was launched in 2014 and aimed at making India a global hub of manufacturing by encouraging companies to manufacture their products in the companyThe report emphasises the importance of ensuring products are genuine and safe to consumer trust.

Read more about the report and it's details here on Food Navigator Asia.

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7608193465?profile=RESIZE_710xOfficers in China have siezed more than two tonnes of lemons for trademark violations. The lemons had counterfeit labelling which claimed the fruits were produced by fruit brand Utifrutti. Their shipping containers also bore the company's logo.

This marks the second seizure of counterfeit lemons claiming to be Unifrutti products since April.

Read the full story on Securing Industry here.

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7607620852?profile=RESIZE_710xMichel Neilsen, professor of analytical chemistry at Wageningen University & Research, was recently interviewed about an EU-funded project to develop smartphone-based food screening capabilities.

The FoodSmartphone project aims to develop smartphone-based (bio)analytical sensing and diagnostics tools for simplified on-site rapid pre-screening of food. The three-year project is scheduled to wrap up in December.

Nielsen explains that the project works to develop a device that can be attached or connected to a shopper's smartphone to test for allergens, pesticides, and whether the product is organic. The team hopes to empower shoppers to test food at the shelf.

The interview was recently published by Horizon, the EU Research and Innovation magazine from the European Commission, and can be read here.

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7605897080?profile=RESIZE_710xPublished last week in the journal Food Control, researchers from Queens University Belfast and ABF Food Group compiled a comprehensive review of food fraud terminologies and mitigation guides. 

The review found guidance and terminology which could be used throughout the food industry, including guidance documents on food fraud prevention and mitigation which also touch on the supply chain.

The article, which is not open access at this time, can be accessed here

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7605223082?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Institute of Supply Management (ISM), a US-based not-for-profit professional supply management organization, has updated its survey on global supply chain disruptions due to Covid. In the initial release of its survey, ISM found that 75% of respondents reported that their organisations had experienced supply chain disruption. In this update, research indicates that 97% of respondents believe that their organisation's supply chain will be affected by Covid-related disruptions. Respondents included those in the Food, Beverage and Tobacco sector.

The report also investigates impacts to lead times, manufacturing capabilities, inventory and others.

Read ISM's news story here.

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All eyes are on Australia’s developing winter crop as global grains markets look to Australia to offset a poor European harvest hit by drought, an international grains strategist has told local growers.

Rabobank London-based global grains and oilseeds strategist @Stefan Vogel, speaking on the bank’s Australian Grain Mid-season Webinar, said when it comes to #wheat and #canola in particular, “we are all looking for good crops in Australia to make up the shortfall caused by the poor season in Europe”.

Read full article.

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Animal origin food products, including fish and seafood, meat and poultry, milk and dairy foods, and other related products play significant roles in human nutrition. However, fraud in this food sector frequently occurs, leading to negative economic impacts on consumers and potential risks to public health and the environment. Therefore, the development of analytical techniques that can rapidly detect fraud and verify the authenticity of such products is of paramount importance.


Traditionally, a wide variety of targeted approaches, such as chemical, chromatographic, molecular, and protein-based techniques, among others, have been frequently used to identify animal species, production methods, provenance, and processing of food products. Although these conventional methods are accurate and reliable, they are destructive, time-consuming, and can only be employed at the laboratory scale. On the contrary, alternative methods based mainly on spectroscopy have emerged in recent years as invaluable tools to overcome most of the limitations associated with
traditional measurements. The number of scientific studies reporting on various authenticity issues investigated by vibrational spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, and fluorescence spectroscopy has increased substantially over the past few years, indicating the tremendous potential of these techniques in the fight against food fraud.

This manuscript reviews the state-of-the-art research advances since 2015 regarding the use of analytical methods applied to detect fraud in food products of animal origin, with particular attention paid to spectroscopic measurements coupled with chemometric analysis. The opportunities and challenges surrounding the use of spectroscopic techniques and possible future directions are also be discussed.

Read full paper here.

 

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Food fraud and adulteration is a major concern in terms of economic and public health.Multivariate methods combined with spectroscopic techniques have shown promise as a novel analytical strategy for addressing issues related to food fraud that cannot be solved by the analysis of one variable, particularly in complex matrices such distilled beverages.

This review describes and discusses different aspects of whisky production, and recent developments of laboratory, in field and high throughput analysis. In particular, recent applications detailing the use of vibrational spectroscopy techniques combined with data analytical methods used to not only distinguish between brand and origin of whiskey but to also detect adulteration are presented.

Read open access paper here.

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7553664877?profile=RESIZE_710xUS Department of Agriculture has published a proposed rule, aiming to close the "gaps in the current regulations to build consistent certification practices to deter and detect organic fraud."

Part of the proposal will aim to reduce businesses exempted from organic certification. improving traceability with better recordkeeping, and standardizing inspections of organic operation sites.

Read more on the proposed rule in the Food Navigator story.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has published its annual International Food Security Assessment, which shows that the worldwide coronavirus pandemic has made food security worse.

The annual report determines how much access people in 76 low and middle-income countries have to food. The answer to that question requires tracking incomes, food prices, and other economic factors including agriculture production and market conditions.

“In the 76 low- and middle-income countries examined in the report, the number of people considered food insecure in 2020 was estimated at almost 761 million people or 19.8 percent of the total population. The shock to GDP from COVID-19 is projected to increase the number of food-insecure people by 83.5 million people in 2020 to 844.5 million and increase the share of the population that is food insecure to 22 percent.”

Read full article.

 

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 AOAC International's Food Authenticity Task Force has developed standard method performance requirements (SMPR) for targeted and non-targeted food authenticity methods. SMPR set minimum performance criteria that food authenticity testing methods for milk, honey and olive oil need to fulfil. 

Further information was provided in a recent free-of-charge webinar, which can be viewed on registration.

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Digital PCR (dPCR) has developed considerably since the publication of the Minimum Information for Publication of Digital PCR Experiments (dMIQE) guidelines in 2013, with advances in instrumentation, software, applications (including for food authenticity), and our understanding of its technological potential.

Yet these developments also have associated challenges; data analysis steps, including threshold setting, can be difficult and preanalytical steps required to purify, concentrate, and modify nucleic acids can lead to measurement error. To assist independent corroboration of conclusions, comprehensive disclosure of all relevant experimental details is required.

To support the community and reflect the growing use of dPCR, an update to dMIQE, dMIQE2020, has been published including a simplified dMIQE table format to assist researchers in providing key experimental information and understanding of the associated experimental process.

Adoption of dMIQE2020 by the scientific community will assist in standardizing experimental protocols, maximize efficient utilization of resources, and further enhance the impact of this powerful technology.

Read full paper.

The dMIQE2020 guidelines have been added to a new 'Guidelines' area of the Quality section of the Food Authenticity Network.

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The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt across the food supply network.

The Chairman of our Advisory Board, Sterling Crew, has published a paper for the IFST, in which he reviews the potential food authenticity challenges created by the pandemic and the mitigation of the emerging risks and threats.

Many of the risk factors for food fraud have increased across the global food supply network due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Steps taken following the horsemeat incident and the Elliott report have strengthened the UK’s food supply network authenticity controls and helped to mitigate vulnerability to COVID-19 related fraud..Chris Elliott

The pandemic has highlighted some of the weaknesses in the nature and complexity of the global food network. The UK food industry must assure the authenticity of food by continuing to minimise the vulnerability to food fraud , by building resilience to possible future shocks and by mitigation of the emerging authenticity risks and created by COVID-19.

Read full article.

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The main authenticity issues associated with EVOO’s quality involve the organoleptic properties (EVOO or defective), mislabelling of production type (organic or conventional), variety and geographical origin, and adulteration. Greek researchers have reviewed the various "omics" (mainly genomics and metabolomics) using HRMS with various chemometric tools presenting the various workflows to verify critical aspects of olive oil authenticity.

Read the abstract here

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Bar chart illustrating which foods were most difficult to buy in shops, supermarkets, and online grocery services. Dry goods is the highest, followed by tinned food.

      3 key ways the pandemic impacted access to food

 

  1. There was a lack of clarity about how much food people needed to buy.
  2. The pandemic made more people unable to afford food.
  3. Foodservice and hospitality businesses and their suppliers are going to feel the effects of lockdown for years.

EFRA's key recommendations to fix the problem 

1.Ensuring people can afford enough healthy food is the responsibility of multiple Government departments. To bring that work together, the Government should appoint a Minister for Food Security who is empowered to draw together policy across departments on food supply, nutrition and welfare.

2.The Government should work with producers, processors and wholesalers servicing the hospitality and foodservice sector to monitor the health of food and drink suppliers as supply chains restart.

3.The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) should continue to provide £5 million in annual funding to FareShare to redistribute surplus food from farms and across the supply chain to frontline food aid providers for a further two years. This would help those who struggle to afford food as the effects of the pandemic continue, and reduce food waste from farms.

4.Food supply to supermarkets continued because we were able to keep food coming into the country. Future crises could stop this flow and cause more serious problems. The Government has to update its food resilience plans, taking into account how consumer behaviour can disrupt food supply and whether our efficient "just-in-time" supply chains are as resilient as they need to be.

Read summary and full report.

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Learning Science and the UK National Measurement Laboratory (NML) are pleased to launch Praxis, our jointly developed interactive web based training.

Visit https://praxislearn.co.uk/ for details of our new analytical measurement package – Core Laboratory Skills for Chemical and Biological Measurement Scientists – that will be ready later this summer.

Register your interest here.

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The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has commissioned Fera Science Ltd to carry out a review of current methods that are used in the detection and speciation of offal (liver, kidney, heart and lung) in meat preparations and products. Depending on the outcome of the review, which will determine the key requirements for future methods, it is possible that future research may be undertaken. Therefore it is important to look at what existing methods are being used and their advantages or limitations. Fera are therefore interested in responses from all stakeholders in the meat supply chain: food producers, food retailers, government and analytical testing providers and enforcement officers, and have prepared a short survey for completion.

If you would like to participate in the survey follow this link

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A project has started in Australia to use a portable Xray fluorescence instrument to give an elemental fingerprint in order to verify that seafood being sold in Australian markets originates in Australian waters. Elemental profiles will need to be determined for each species of seafood and the regions from where they are caught. This will give confidence to consumers that the seafood they purchase will not be fraudulently mislabelled as Australian. The project is being run by the Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation and is part of a larger Traceability Grants Program.

Read the article here

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The Environment Secretary Michael Gove appointed Henry Dimbleby to conduct this year-long review, and to then set out my recommendations within six months of its completion. Government will then publish an ambitious, multi-disciplinary National Food Strategy, the first of its kind for 75 years, in the form of a White Paper.

Part One of the UK National Food Strategy has been published; the recommendations cover two main themes:

• Making sure a generation of our most disadvantaged children do not get left behind.Eating well in childhood is the very foundation stone of equality of opportunity. It is essential for both physical and mental growth.

• Grasping the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to decide what kind of trading nation we want to be.The essence of sovereignty is freedom – including the freedom to uphold our own values and principles within the global marketplace. 

Over the next year the team will speak to people from across the food chain, from farmers in the field to chefs in the kitchen. We will consult experts from around the world, as well as those whose voices are seldom heard, but who have personal experience of the failings of our food system: low-paid workers in agriculture and food production, people with diet-related diseases, farmers living on the margins, and many more.

If you would like to be involved in the conversation, please get in touch: communications@nationalfoodstrategy.org.

 

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