ASG Terms of Reference

The Authenticity Steering Group’s Terms of Reference are:

  • To identify trends and global drivers likely to impact on food labelling, standards, and the potential for food fraud, deceptive and misleading activities, working in close collaboration with the FSA Food Crime Unit, food industry representatives and local enforcement authorities.
  • To identify overarching authenticity research and surveillance needs and address gaps in analytical methodology that will assist in reducing fraudulent, deceptive or misleading practices to protect consumers and enhance the competitiveness, resilience and sustainability of the food supply chain.
  • To advise on the priorities for commissioning authenticity research which contribute to developing fit for purpose analytical methods to detect food miss-description and adulteration with a focus on areas of highest risk.
  • To advise on authenticity surveillance, that targets areas of highest risk including inputting priorities for coordinated Local Authority sampling and testing  to UKFSS.  
  • Provide strategic leadership and governance on the virtual network of laboratories including working with interested parties to develop “centres of excellence” to create a framework for the standardisation of approaches in authenticity testing and promote methods which are fit for purpose.
  • To assist in identifying effective knowledge transfer and dissemination activities between local authorities; official control laboratories (public analysts and food examiners) and other stakeholders, including the food and drink industry as appropriate.
  • To assist in identifying where research outputs may be of value to Defra’s work on development of authenticity technologies.
  • To develop links and interact with the EU, international experts and key stakeholders, delivery bodies and trade associations with an interest in food authenticity and seek leverage and partnership working where possible.

Recognising the integral relationship ASG has with the Food Standards Agency on food authenticity enforcement, surveillance and its links to the Food Crime Unit, ASG meetings are co-chaired between Defra and FSA.