Mark Woolfe's Posts (675)

Sort by

9566033863?profile=RESIZE_584x

As the popularity of coffee as a beverage in Europe grew in the 18th century, so has its vulnerability to adulteration and fraud. This review looks at the changing methodology to uncover adulteration and fraud over 3 centuries. It focuses on the discrimination between coffee and other foods or between coffee and its by-products. The earliest chemical, physical and microscopy methods are presented followed by methods developed in the 20th and 21st centuries using chromatography and spectroscopy associated with advanced statistical tools, and DNA-based methods. The earliest adulterant studied was chicory, but from the 20th century onwards, maize, coffee by-products, and barley were the most studied, followed by chicory, rice and other food items. Most methods have low sensitivity, and are adversely affected by matrix effects, especially degree of roasting.

Read the abstract here

Read more…

9556837886?profile=RESIZE_400x

A number of Australian fresh produce industry bodies have received funding as part of a Victorian government programme designed to improve the way agricultural producers get their products to market. In the first tranche of the Food to Market programme, A$8.4m worth of grants has been distributed to 13 key industry and regional peak bodies. Global Victoria has contributed an additional A$2.8m to provide export recovery support to industries impacted by disruptions as a result of the pandemic.

 Ausveg received A$960k to commence a pilot in partnership with the Victorian government to investigate and trial alternative packaging and transport options for broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, celery and lettuce crop producers in Victoria.

Cherry Growers Australia received A$750k to support the development of a ‘chemical use for export toolkit’ to allow businesses planning to export their produce so they can more easily meet the expectations of international markets.

Citrus Australia and the Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA) received A$1.4m to lead two innovative traceability pilots for premium fruit, which  include using leading technology, isotope testing, cool-chain tracking and orchard mapping to enhance traceability. This will aim to safeguard the industry from fraudulent products and ensure that the integrity of premium fruit brands and varieties is protected. As regards table grapes ATGA has partnered with Agriculture Victoria for its A$650k pilot project, which commenced in June 2021 and will run for the duration of the 2021/22 table grape harvest season. Improvement in traceability will be developed by Technology provider Result Group, who will apply unique serialised GS1 Digital Link-enabled QR code labels to export table grapes, allowing the automated collection of data from farm and supply chain. This information can be shared with consumers to authenticate the food’s precise origin and engage with the brand through an open platform smartphone scan.

Read the article here or the ATGA Press Release

Read more…

Authentication of the Italian Spirit Drink "Grappa"

9556787669?profile=RESIZE_400x

"Grappa" is a traditional Italian spirit drink produced from the distillation of fermented grape marc and seeds after winemaking. In the EU Spirit Drink Regulations, "grappa" is a protected name, and it has to be produced from Italian cultivated and processed grapes. Italian researchers have developed a method to authenticate "grappa" using alcohol measurement and gas chromatography analysis of the volatiles on 123 spirit samples. Of these, 43 were "grappa" and the others were spirit drinks from wine, grapes, apples and pears. The samples were divided into a training set (94 samples) of a chemometric model using linear discriminant analysis (LDA), and a validation set (29 samples) was used to test the model and gave good discrimination between the different types of spirits.

Two suspicious samples of "grappa" seized by Italian customs were also examined and analysed. Visual examination revealed differences in the cork closures and barcodes. The analytical results on the chemometric model indicated the two samples were wine spirit rather than "grappa".  A further chemometric model was calculated, based on principal component analysis (PCA), which indicated that the two samples were different from wine spirit, and it was concluded that they were an adulterated "grappa" rather than wine spirit. The adulteration was not identified, and further investigation is required. However, the approach developed in this research would serve as a rapid test to authenticate "grappa", and samples not fitting the chemometric models would require further analysis if not fitting exactlyinto the different types of spirit. It is also a useful exercise in developing a method to verify a protected name in food law.

Read the full open access paper

Read more…

9553249657?profile=RESIZE_584x

In this paper, a new approach to rapid pork detection was developed using an amplification-free and mix-to-read CRISPR-Cas12-based nucleic acid analytical strategy. An optimized guide RNA (gRNA) targeting the pork cytochrome b (Cyt b) gene was designed, which allowed specific identification of the target Cyt b gene in pork components. Activation of Cas12 protein to cleave single-stranded DNA probes with terminally labelled fluorophore and quencher groups then allowed confirmation of the presence of pork Cytb by reading the fluorescence signal. The assay allowed specific detection of pork in beef, mutton, and chicken products, The reliability of the method was tested on processed halal meat products - beef luncheon meat and spiced beef, as well as non-halal foods - sausage and dried pork slices.

Read the abstract and supporting information here

Read more…

9545422663?profile=RESIZE_710x

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published its July-August 2021 Food Fraud Monthly Summary reporting food fraud incidents and investigations from around the world. These have been kindly represented as an infographic above by our Member Bruno Séchet and thanks for allowing us to share it with the rest of the Network.

In addition to the news items above, there are also references to many interesting articles including an overview of blockchain, guidelines against fraud for tea and herbs, and a recent WWF report on sharkmeat.

You can download the July-Aug 2021 Food Fraud Summary here

 

Read more…

9471614689?profile=RESIZE_400x

The tea market has an annual global value of £15 billion with a 10% annual growth rate. The ASSET Technology Centre based at Queens University Belfast (and one of the Network's Centres of Expertise) has received funding from Agilent (the Thought leader Award) to use a range of analytical methods to test teas from different geographical origins and produce a 'chemical fingerprinting' map. It is hoped that the map will be able to check the origin of the tea to prevent mislabelling, and also the presence of known bulking agents (such as Prussian Blue, coal tar dye, indigo, soapstone, plumbago and gypsum) will be tested for. Prof Elliott, who heads the project, does not underestimate the challenge tea presents in its complex composition, as well as the complicated nature of tea production.

Read the article here

Read more…

9471441087?profile=RESIZE_400x

The aim of this study by Brazilian researchers was to identify authenticity markers to distinguish between true and false cinnamon, and use mid-infrared spectroscopy (MIR) with chemometric analysis as a fast screening method. A  total of 129 samples of cinnamon were obtained from Brazil, Sri Lanka and Paraguay. The samples were analysed by hplc (high performance liquid chromatography) and MIR. The levels of eugenol, cinnamaldehyde and coumarin were measured.  Samples of true cinnamon had higher levels of eugenol and cinnamaldehyde and lower levels of coumarin, and they also had higher antioxidant activity. Principal component analysis (PCA) of both the hplc and MIR results was able to separate the two types of cinnamon, and partial least square discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) was able to differentiate between the true and false cinnamon with 94.4% and 100% accuracy for the compositional analysis and MIR respectively.

Read the abstract here

Read more…

9447290060?profile=RESIZE_584x

Skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) is the most commercialised species of tuna in canned tuna. Chinese scientist have developed a novel loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay targeting the cytochrome b gene for rapid screening of skipjack tuna. LAMP primers were designed so that they were specific for skipjack tuna, and the specificity was confirmed against 22 other fish species. The LAMP assay could detect as low as 50 pg skipjack tuna DNA, by both colorimetric and real time fluorescent determination. The LAMP assay was tested on 39 canned tuna products, and only 4 samples contained skipjack tuna. The LAMP results were also confirmed by DNA sequencing, hence the novel LAMP method can be used for rapid screening of skipjack tuna in canned  fish products. 

Read the abstract here

Read more…

9435660055?profile=RESIZE_584x

Misdescription of fish species is a major global problem. DNA identification of single fish species is now well researched, but authentication and quantification of fish species in mixtures remains a challenge. An international group of scientists have applied a novel high-throughput shotgun DNA sequencing and mass spectrometry-based proteomics in parallel on the same samples to estimate the relative abundance of fish species in a mixed sample. Seven species of fish were used for the individual fish samples, but the mixture was only made up of 4 species (Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), Atlantic haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), and platyfish (Xiphophorus maculatus)).The DNA sequencing approach applying masked reference libraries was able to discriminate and predict relative abundances of different fish species in the mixed sample with high accuracy. Also the proteomics tools based on direct spectra comparisons showed feasibility in the identification of individual fish species, and the estimation of their respective relative abundances in a mixed sample. 

The results showed that DNA sequencing was more accurate for the quantification of closely related species, but proteomics was more accurate for quantification at the taxonomic family level. In practice, a possible tiered approach, taking advantage of the specificity of DNA sequencing and the abundance accuracy of proteomics would be best suited for tackling fish species misdescription.

 Read the full open access paper here

 

Read more…

9257655287?profile=RESIZE_400x

A new report has been published based on data collected by the NVWA (The Netherlands Food and Consumer Safety Authority) that shows that certified organisations perform better than non-certified in relation to compliance with regulations. It covers a 5 year period and 15,000 audits.The paper concludes that businesses operating to 3rd party management systems perform better than non-certificated sites. Businesses with BRCGS certification in place performed well and reported fewer non-compliances with the regulation than both non-certified organisations, as well as those operating on other certification programmes.

You can read the article and dowload the full paper here

Read more…

9242579475?profile=RESIZE_400xHerbs and spices are vulnerable to adulteration, and the problem has only been compounded by the Covid pandemic. However, NGS is giving food manufacturers, retailers, and regulators, the tools they need to help combat on food fraud. Rather than returning a simple positive/ negative result, NGS reliably detects and reports multi-species DNA in even the most complex of samples, including herbs and spices, which allows food analyst laboratories to screen for thousands of species in one test, and get same-day results.

Read the article here

Read more…

9224624681?profile=RESIZE_584x

Moisture content of roasted coffee beans is a major issue for the coffee industry and the consumer.  A gravimetric method is the standard method for moisture content, but is time consuming. Italian researchers have compared the use of NIR (near infrared) spectroscopy to that of a thermogravimetric moisture analyser (TMA) to enable real-time monitoring of the coffee bean moisture content. The NIR spectra of roasted beans and ground coffee were analysed chemometrically and compared to TMA results. It was found that the NIR results gave good or better accuracy than the TMA results, and hence it was concluded that the NIR method would be a good standard method for coffee moisture content evaluation.

Read the abstract here

Read more…

JRC's June 2021 Food Fraud Summary Published

9214985478?profile=RESIZE_710x

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published its June 2021 Food Fraud Monthly Summary reporting food fraud incidents and investigations from around the world. These have been kindly represented as an infographic above by our Member Bruno Séchet and thanks for allowing us to share it with the rest of the Network.

In addition, there are also references to two interesting articles in the Summary. One reports a recent News blog on our website by the Arral Food Institute on food fraud in Canada. The other is an artlce by the Chair of the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

You can dowload the June 2021 Food Fraud Summary here

Read more…

9161310686?profile=RESIZE_400x

Droplet digital polymerase chain reation (ddPCR) technology is a PCR method utilising a water-oil emulsion droplet system, where each nanoliter-sized droplet in the emulsion contains the template DNA molecules, essentially serving the same function as individual test tubes or wells in a plate in which the PCR reaction takes place. In this study, ddPCR was used to detect adulteration of acacia honey with canola (rapeseed) honey. DNA extraction from pollen in acacia honey and canola honey was performed using four different pollen treatment methods. A duplex ddPCR method was developed based on the specific target gene in acacia and canola, which permitted detecting up to 1% adulteration of canola in acacia. This method is more rapid and accurate than the accepted microscopy examination of honey pollen, but does not address exogenous sugar adulteration of honey.

Read the abstract here

Read more…

9161160069?profile=RESIZE_584x

The US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) requests technology providers, and other stakeholders from around the world to develop traceability hardware or software or analytics platforms, that are low cost or no cost to the end user. This is in response to last year's FDA proposed a new rule, that will lay the foundation for 'farm-to-table' traceability across the US food industry. The FDA will accept submissions of such systems from June 1 to July 30, and is hoping to announce up to 12 winners at the end of the challenge period. No cash prizes will be awarded, but the winners will have the opportunity to present their work publicly in a webinar planned for September. 

Read the article here, and the FDA Challenge here

Read more…

9161089868?profile=RESIZE_400x

Spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) collects the Raman scattered signal at some distance from the excitation laser spot on the sample. In this way, the Raman spectra are recovered from the sample's sub-surface through the packaging, providing a characteristic fingerprint of the product which can be further analysed chemometrically. This is a relatively new technique, and this review examines all the studies reported to date, where SORS is applied to analyse different foods and beverages, permitting rapid, non-invasive analysis to ensure quality control and authentication of raw materials and end products.

Read the abstract here

Read more…

9160898454?profile=RESIZE_400x

This article examines the economic effect of the Covid pandemic, and in particular how it has impacted on the global food security especially in lower-income countries around the world. The World Food Programme estimated in April this year, that 296 million people are undernourished in the 35 countries it works in, which is a 60% increase from the previous year. Not only has the pandemic affected incomes and food supply in lower income countries such as Bangladesh, but also low income families in developed countries.such as the USA because of rising food prices. The World Bank has stated that although there has not generally been food shortages during the pandemic, next seasons's crops could be affected by supply disruptions and inflation affecting key agricultural inputs such as fertilisers and seeds, or prolonged labour shortages.

Read the full article here

Read more…

9160817469?profile=RESIZE_400x

Polyphenols are a diverse group of natural compounds contributing to the organoleptic properties of wine. Their distribution and content in wines is dependent on grape variety, where the grapes are grown, oenological practices, and storage conditions and time. Hence they are good markers for wine authenticity. This review examines the analytical methods to determine polyphenols especially the metabolomic studies using NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) or MS (mass spectrometry) combined with chemometrics, and previous studies utilising polyphenols for wine authenticity.

Read the full open-access paper.

Read more…

9158692452?profile=RESIZE_400x

Saffron is the most expensive spice on the international market, and as such is considered the most vulnerable to adulteration and fraud. The most common adulterants such as safflower, marigold and tumeric cannot be detected in the ISO specified certification system examining the aroma, flavour and colour of saffron even at the 20% w/w level. This study aimed to develop a rapid, untargeted and sensitive method to authenticate saffron based on direct analysis in real time (DART) using an ambient ionisation source with an Orbitrap high resolution mass spectrometer (HRMS) to detect adulteration by safflower and/or tumeric. Chemometric analysis permitted discrimination of the metabolic profile under optimised DART-HRMS conditions permitting discrimination of these adulterants down to the 5% level.

Read the full open-access research paper

Read more…

9158522660?profile=RESIZE_400xBetween September and December 2020, Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) inspectors took 45 samples of fresh and frozen tuna from retailers and frozen tuna from wholesalers, and carried out 92 types of analysis.The objective of the operation was to detect the use and frequency of chemical treatments that are used to hide the spoilage of the fish going brown, and passing it off as a fresher item, which retains its red colour. The FASFC analysed for the treatment with colourants, ascorbic acid, nitrite and nitrates, and carbon monoxide. 

More than 35 tons of tuna was seized having been treated with carbon monoxide. Almost half of the 25 samples tested had been treated with nitrite or nitrate. Sixteen of 29 samples tested were non-compliant for amounts of ascorbic acid, which has a limit of 300 mg/kg under EU Regulations.

As a result of the fraud discovered in 2020, the AFSCA will include testing for carbon monoxide treatment in routine checks as part of its control plan in 2021 and will increase inspections on imports of tuna from non-EU countries.

Read the article here

Read more…