The Food Authenticity Network aims to raise awareness of the range of methods / techniques used to check for mislabelling and food fraud and to ensure that the UK has access to a resilient network of laboratories providing fit for purpose testing to check for food authenticity so consumers can have confidence in the food they buy. Recognising that no one organisation will be equipped with all the necessary expertise in all methods / techniques used in food authenticity testing, the Elliott review proposed the creation of ‘Centres of Excellence’ to cover the different disciplines and techniques involved.

The UK Government’s Authenticity Methods Working Group produced a number of criteria which outlined the type of qualities an organisation offering a particular expertise might be expected to demonstrate to become a ‘Centre of Expertise’ (CoE). There was an expectation that such organisations should be prepared to engage with and offer support to others in their areas of expertise both within the Food Authenticity Network and more widely if required.

In 2015, the Government first invited organisations working in the authenticity field to consider if they had the expertise, capability and experience expected of a CoE and asked interested parties to complete a self-assessment evidence proforma providing evidence of their capabilities and demonstrating how they fulfil the AMWG criteria for CoEs. Since then the process for applying to become a CoE has been and is open. In addition to this, from 2020, an annual call for CoE applications has been issued.

CoEs, contact details and a brief summary of their capabilities are given on the CoE page on this website. The self-assessment evidence proforma completed by each CoE and an information poster, where available, are also provided. This information is kept under review to ensure it remains relevant and up-to-date. 

Please note:

The listing of a CoE on the food authenticity network is not an endorsement by Government of an organisation but an acknowledgment that the organisation has a particular expertise in authenticity testing either for a particular technique/ food commodity or authenticity testing more generally. It is intended as a guide for those looking for information about food authenticity testing capability in the UK. As such, if a CoE is selected to perform a particular service for an organisation or individual, then it is the responsibility of the procurer to ensure that the services requested are fit for their purpose. The Criteria for a 'Fit for purpose' analytical laboratory identified by the AMWG in its response to the Elliot Review may help in the procurement of analytical services.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland, July 2020

Food Authenticity CoEs

Academic or other Research organisations carrying out food authenticity research in a particular field 

Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS)

Queen’s University Belfast, Biological Sciences Building, 19 Chlorine Gardens, Belfast, BT9 5DL 

Contact: Professor Chris Elliott

Tel: +44 (0)2890974721


The ASSET Technology Centre within the Institute for Global Food Security is one of the best equipped authenticity laboratories in the world. We boast multiple platforms based on sensor technology, molecular spectroscopy (benchtop NIR, FTIR and Raman; handheld Neospectra NIR, SCiO NIR, Flame NIR and Raman) and mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS, QToF-MS, DART-MS, REIMS, GC-MS/MS, ICP-MS, IRMS).

ISO17025 accreditation is in place for a number of authenticity methods and a programme is in place to extend this further. We are part of a large international network of scientists working in academia, governmental and industry centres. We are the most published research group in the world in peer reviewed scientific journal on ‘food fraud detection methods’.

Full Evidence Proforma

Information Poster


The food authenticity network takes no responsibility for any commercial decisions made on the basis of the information provided above.

Become a CoE


Organisations who wish to apply to be recognised as a Centre of Expertise (CoE) should complete a self-assessment proforma [MS Word, 105kB] providing evidence on how they meet the criteria set by AMWG. The completed proforma should be sent to the Food Authenticity Network Executive Team at

Assessment of Applications

Applications are reviewed by the Food Authenticity Network Executive Team, based on how applicant organisations meet the AMWG criteria [PDF, 93kB], and the decision to acknowledge an organisation as a CoE is ratified with Defra, the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland.

The self-assessment proforma and a poster, prepared in conjunction with the new CoE, will be published on the Food Authenticity Network together a contact name, contact email address and postal address.

Further information

For enquiries about how to apply to become a Centre of Expertise, contact the Food Authenticity Network Executive Team at