Mark Woolfe's Posts (623)

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Crustaceans are high value foods with a high incidence of species substitution. German researchers have developed a multiplex RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) assay to identify four important commercial crustaceans - giant tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon), whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei), Argentine red shrimp (Pleoticus muelleri), and Dublin Bay prawn or scampi (Nephrops norvegicus). The specificity of the assay was confirmed by testing more than 30 crustacean species, and the performance of the method was evaluated with varyingly processed crustaceans, as well as with commonly used spices and herbs. 

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Italian researchers have developed a novel assay for DNA sensing of genetically modified (GM) soya based on the use of magnetic microbeads functionalised with PNA (peptide nucleic acid) probes and a subsequent read-out on screen-printed electrode (SPE) substrates. The PNA probes bind to a complementary DNA target extracted from non-amplified genomic DNA from GM Roundup Ready soya. The microbeads are then separated using a magnet and visualised on the screen to enable discrimination between the GM and the non-GM soya. The method was validated by comparing the results to other DNA assays requiring preliminary amplification of target DNA via PCR (polymerase chain reaction).

The ability of the magnet bead assay to detect the presence of Roundup Ready soya DNA sequence was tested on genomic DNA extracts from European Reference Material soya flours, demonstrating the capability of the method to match the European Union regulation for labelling of food containing a percentage of GM products greater than 0,9%.

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China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) has issued warnings to consumers about the safety of certain fermented foods following a severe food poisoning incident in Heilongjiang province last year when nine members of a family died after consuming home made fermented maize noodles. The cause of the fatalities was a respiratory toxin produced by Pseudomonas cocovenans. There were other severe local food poisoning outbreaks from other home made fermented corn noodles, fermented rice noodles and an edible fungus. Hence, SAMR have warned against consumption or sales of home made fermented products.

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security issued data on 1,400 cases of counterfeit food investigated from May to November 2020, and thought that the move to online shopping made fraud easier. There are two types of fraud. One type is registering a trade mark very similar in name of a branded product to cause some confusion when purchased by the consumer. The other is the direct counterfeiting of a label of a branded product. As an example of the latter, Penfolds wines have been the victim of counterfeiting in China for some years and which is thought to have been worth almost US$ 20million. 

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Analytical Toolbox for Food Fraud

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This article summarises the authenticity analytical approaches (based on building blocks of food) to identify the most suitable procedures to prevent food fraud. The methods described are not exhaustive, but cover the majority of approaches that are currently
undertaken. In particular, DNA methodology, proteomics, chromatographic methods and stable isotope ratio analysis are discussed.

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This study used DNA barcoding to identify fish species and microbiome profiling  to study the presence of pathogens. Between February 2018 and October 2020, 127 fish samples were collected from restaurants (83 samples), and the remainder (44 samples) from hypermarkets, supermarkets, markets, seafood wholesalers/retailers, and fishing harbours. The microbiological analysis was undertaken because most of the restaurant samples were raw fish sashimi/sushi. The study found that 24 of the samples were mislabelled as regards the fish species, and snapper had the largest number of mislabelled samples (11), which had been substituted by tilapia. This may be due to the labelling of tilapia as Taiwan-Snapper.

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The quality and price of tea produced in different regions varies greatly, and this research investigated whether elemental content determined by X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy can indicate origin of commercial teas. A total of 75 tea samples from tea producing countries throughout the world were analysed for their elemental content, and 18 elements were selected for analysis based on their repeatability performance. Tea origin was determined by multivariate classification of the tea into 5 major geographical regions then two regions, Asian and non-Asian. The Asian vs non-Asian classification of the teas reached an 85% correct prediction rate.

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How the FSA is Helping to Combat Online Food Crime

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The volume of trade of food sold over the internet is both growing and changing at a rapid rate, and there is increasing concern about the potential safety and the possibility of food fraud of this trade. In this article, the FSA (Food Standards Agency) explains what action it is taking to regulate the online trade in food, especially dealing with the proliferation of unregistered businesses on online platforms. In particular, FSA has been rolling out a digital Register a Food Business tool, which allows businesses to register digitally with their local authority using a smart phone, tablet or PC.  

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There have been an increasing number of cases of substitution of organic produce by conventially grown produce driving the need for robust methods to authenticate organically grown produce. Metabolomics to distringuish organic produce from conventially grown produce has been used for some time. This review examines the latest applications, advantages, challenges and future perspectives of HRMS based targeted and untargeted metabolomics for discrimination between organic and conventional crops. It concludes that data from combined techniques, such as untargeted and targeted metabolomics or metabolomics and stable isotope analysis, can improve the robustness of discriminative models, but they require further validation.

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Detection of Cow's Milk in Buffalo Yoghurt

 

8540090294?profile=RESIZE_400xThere is increasing demand for buffalo milk products. Italian researchers investigated the presence of undeclared cow's milk in buffalo yoghurt using a real-time PCR assay. They analysed 72 buffalo yoghurt samples and found that 18 of them contained bovine DNA. They recommend that this is a high priority area for investigation.

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This book serves as a practical resource on the topic of food fraud prevention and compliance with regulatory and industry standards. It includes a brief overview of the history of food fraud, current challenges, and vulnerabilities faced by the food industry, and requirements for compliance with regulatory and industry standards on mitigating vulnerability to food fraud, with a focus on the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Benchmarking Requirements. 

More information on the contents here

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Review of NMR Spectroscopy in Wine Authentication

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2H NMR spectroscopy has been the official method to detect sugar addition and water to wine for many decades. Recently, 1H NMR spectroscopy, a simpler and faster method (in terms of sample preparation), has gathered more and more attention in wine analysis, even though it lacks official recognition. This technique makes targeted quantitative determination of wine ingredients and non-targeted detection of the metabolomic fingerprint of a wine sample possible. This review summarises the possibilities and limitations of 1H NMR spectroscopy in analytical wine authentication.

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CAMS (Community for Analytical Measurement Science) is an industry-led initiative aimed at promoting world-class analytical measurement science training, research and innovation by bringing together a network of industrial and academic partners with interests in these fields.

The purpose of this CAMS Call is to encourage research and innovation within the field of analytical measurement science. Funding is available to co-fund a number of Lectureships, PostDocs and PhDs awards.

As CAMS is an industry-led network, applicants and their academic institutions are expected to work closely with CAMS Industry Members throughout the duration of the award. Applications should align with at least one of CAMS’s priority areas (listed below) and wherever possible address a specific industry challenge:
● Point of use sensors and photonics
● Complex mixtures, separations and detection
● Data analytics
● Novel instrumentation or technique

There are no restrictions on age or nationality, but applicants should be eligible to undertake an academic appointment within the British Isles - England, Scotland, Wales or the Island of Ireland (both Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland). It is anticipated that recipients of a CAMS award would reside and conduct their programme of work within the British Isles for the duration of the award.

More application details here

Deadline for applications is 17:00 GMT 19 February 2021

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NMR has been used for the authenticity of wines for over 30 years, but has evolved significantly in the last two decades. It was developed as the official method for added water and sugar to wine, but its use in metabolomics gives a lot of information on grape varieties, cultivation techniques and vintage. NMR can also yield information on geographic origin.

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Natural vanilla flavour from the vanilla pod is an expensive product, and many manufacturers use synthetic vanillin to flavour their products. In the US, there has been a proliferation of class action lawsuits against manufacturers using "vanilla" in the name of the food e.g. vanilla ice-cream. This has been on the basis that most manufacturers using vanilla in the name of the food are not disclosing the true source of the vanilla flavour to consumers. A third of the cases were dismissed, and many more are pending dismissal, but one case was settled for $3 million.  

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The Food Authenticity Network Newsletter January 2021 is now available (in the documents section). There is lots of information about the progress of our global Network and upcoming activities, as well as articles on blockchain and  an inter-laboratory trial on handheld infrared instruments. Our Centre of Expertise profile is the Asset Centre at Queens University Belfast.

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The Food Standards Agency (FSA) issued an alert on 18 January warning consumers, who had purchased meat products supplied by a Wiltshire fresh meat vendor via Facebook sites, not to consume them. The meat products (predominantly lamb, goat, veal, beef), of all meat species, were supplied by an unregistered and unapproved Wiltshire based vendor, and had not been produced in accordance with food safety and hygiene legislative requirements.

Read the FSA alert and the news article.

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Herbs and spices have been shown to be the group of foods most susceptible to adulteration. This extensive review by Polish researchers examines the application of different types of NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) combined with chemometrics to characterise and distinguish authentic and adulterated spice samples.

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Maple syrup, the concentrated sap of Acer saccharum March, is sought after for its unique flavour and taste. As a popular and high value product, it is increasingly susceptible to adulteration by other sugar syrups. This review looks at most recent advances in the analytical methods used for detecting the different types of maple syrup adulteration.It concludes that SpectrAcer and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) are the most efficient methods for detection of maple syrup adulteration. SpectrAcer, an automated spectroscopy sytem developed by the Canadian company Acer, based reflected light at different wavelengths using the syrup's fluorescence properties with UV, and sugar composition at other wavelengths.

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