The Food Authenticity Network has worked with Defra, FSA, FSS, NFCU, SFCIU and the Food Authenticity Centres of Expertise to agree a framework for a co-ordinated response from food authenticity Centres of Expertise to national / international food and feed fraud incidents / investigations.

Official controls of food and feed labelling and compositional standards involves the verification of labelled product information and requires a wide range of analytical and molecular biological techniques to be deployed, many with exacting instrumentation requirements and in-depth scientific interpretation of the datasets generated. In recognition that no single institution could field the complete range of such techniques with the required expertise in all of the food and feed commodity groups, a number of Food Authenticity Centres of Expertise (CoEs) have been acknowledged (see below for list and further information). 

It was envisaged that the virtual network of  CoEs would function in a similar way to a National Reference Laboratory by helping to ensure that authenticity testing methods employed are fit for purpose and offer expert advice to the food authenticity analytical community as required. 

A framework has been produced for collaboration of Food Authenticity Centres of Expertise to facilitate the formulation a collective technical view, in response to a request from UK Government, during an emergency food or feed fraud incident/investigation. A collective technical view will facilitate UK Government in making evidence-based decisions in a timely manner so as to minimise the impact on legitimate businesses and protect consumers.

The Framework is not a public document but the process flow diagram is presented above to illustrate the process agreed. An accessible version is available here.


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 this page . 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.

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

Food Authenticity CoEs

Academic or other Research organisations

1. Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS), Queen’s University Belfast

2. University of East Anglia

Organisations having a general proficiency in food authenticity testing across a range of scientific techniques and food commodities 

3. Aberdeen Scientific Services Laboratory

4. Campden BRI

5. Eurofins Food Testing UK Limited

6. Fera Science Ltd

7. LGC

8. Public Analyst Scientific Services Limited (PASS)

9. Premier Foods trading as Premier Analytical Services (PAS)

10. Reading Scientific Services Ltd 

Organisations with a specific expertise in a particular food authenticity technique(s) 

11. Food Forensics Ltd

12. SGS Analytics United Kingdom Ltd

Organisations with an in depth knowledge of authenticity testing for a particular commodity

13School of Natural Sciences, Bangor Science Campus, Bangor University (Cereal grains)

14. Chelab (Tentamus) GmbH (Fruit and vegetable juices, herbs and spices)

15. GfL Gesellschaft für Lebensmittel-Forschung GmbH (Processed fruit, juices/drinks, and related products)

16. Minerva Scientific (Tentamus) (Honey authenticity) 

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