food authenticity (46)


Ancient wheat varieties - einkorn, emmer and spelt are called "hulled wheat" because the hulls are quite tough and not removed during threshing, unlike common and durum wheat, where the hulls are more brittle, and are termed "hulless wheat". Ancient wheat varieties are increasing in popularity, especially with organic farmers, because of their organoleptic qualities. They are collectively called the Italian term "farro". There is a siginificant price differential between hulled and hulless wheat, and hence a requirement to verify labelling of products containing einkorn, emmer and spelt. In this study, researchers have developed a digital PCR method that will quantify the amount of "farro" and hulless wheat (common or durum wheat) in flours and wheat based products. It was tested between two laboratories with a range of products, and apart from two products (which may have been labelling incorrectly), the two laboratories determination matched each other and the labelling very closely. There was no or very little cross reactivity with barley, oat and rice.

Read the full paper here

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The increase in consumption of vegan foods has promoted higher production of different plant-based proteins. This study looked at developing a non-invasive and rapid method to determine the authenticity of plant-based protein powders (free of soy, lactose, and gluten), and classify possible adulterants (soya, whey and wheat) in the powders, using FT-NIR (Fourier Transform-Near-Infrared Spectroscopy) and chemometrics. A set of 47 pure plant protein samples were analysed by FT-NIR.  A set of 144 adulterated samples were prepared by adding 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40% (w/w) of each adulterant into pure plant-based protein powder samples, and also analysed. The spectra were analysed chemometrically combining one class and multiclass methods, and it was found that this approach could be successfully used in a range of 10–40% of adulteration, to verify the authenticity of the plant-based protein powders and to classify adulterants into soy, whey, and wheat.

Read the abstract here

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9549834470?profile=RESIZE_400xForeword by the Government Chemist

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is a powerful tool for rapidly and cost-effectively identifying and characterising plant, animal and microbial species present in mixed food samples.

The application of NGS to food authenticity, adulteration and safety testing is a constantly evolving field with its own unique set of challenges that need to be explored. Further work needs to be conducted to better understand the performance characteristics and establish relevant performance criteria and metrics, to enable results generated in different laboratories to be compared and interpreted with equal confidence.

Following concerns raised from food industry members on the use of NGS for the quantitative determination of food ingredients, the Government Chemist engaged with Defra’s Authenticity Methodology Working Group (AMWG) [1] and its Technical Sub-Group (AMWG-TSG), resulting in the AMWG producing a view [2] on the use of NGS for food authenticity testing [3].

Download Defra’s Authenticity Methodology Working Group’s view on the use of Next Generation Sequencing for food authenticity testing

[1] An independent expert group that provides scientific and technical advice to support Defra’s food authenticity programme.

[2] The views/opinions expressed by AMWG were correct at the time of the note (November 2020).

[3] Government Chemist representatives: Selvarani Elahi, Deputy Government Chemist, is the Chair of AMWG and Dr Malcolm Burns, Head of GMO unit, Principal Scientist and Special Advisor to the Government Chemist, is a Member of AMWG; they both participated in the AMWG-TSG meeting on NGS and subsequent discussions, inputting into the AMWG view on NGS.

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International Atomic Energy Agency Jobs - IAEA Jobs - GCF Jobs


Laboratory Head (Food and Environmental Protection Lab)(P5)

Organization: NAFA-Food and Environmental Protection Laboratory

Primary Location: Austria-Lower Austria-Seibersdorf-IAEA Laboratories in Seibersdorf

Job Posting: 2021-08-05, 2:21:29 PM

Closing Date: 2021-09-02, 11:59:00 PM

Duration in Months: 36

Contract Type: Fixed Term - Regular

Probation Period: 1 Year

Organizational Setting

The Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications implements the IAEA's Major Programme 2, "Nuclear Techniques for Development and Environmental Protection". This Major Programme comprises individual programmes on food and agriculture, human health, water resources, environment and radiation technologies. These programmes are supported by laboratories in Seibersdorf, Monaco and Vienna. The Major Programme's objective is to enhance the capacity of Member States to meet basic human needs and to assess and manage the marine and terrestrial environments through the use of nuclear and isotopic techniques in sustainable development programmes. The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture assists Member States of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the IAEA in using nuclear techniques and related technologies to improve food security, alleviate poverty and promote sustainable agriculture. The Joint Division consists of five Sections, each with an associated laboratory (located in Seibersdorf, 45 km south-east of Vienna), in the areas of: animal production and health; plant breeding and genetics; insect pest control; soil and water management and crop nutrition; and food and environmental protection.

The Food and Environmental Protection Section and Laboratory assist Member States in ensuring the safety and quality of food and agricultural commodities through the development of analytical techniques and application of food irradiation, focusing on the use of nuclear and related technologies in the management of food and environmental hazards and on strengthening capacities for nuclear emergency preparedness and response in agriculture.

Main Purpose

As a member of the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratories team and with the programmatic direction of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, the Laboratory Head (Food and Environmental Protection Lab) leads the innovative Research and Development (R&D) activities of the Food and Environmental Protection Laboratory (FEPL) relating to the development of methodologies to enhance food control systems in Member States for food authenticity, to support food traceability and to control food contaminants and residues of agrochemicals, in the context of joint FAO/IAEA programmes to ensure food quality and safety and to enhance international trade.


The Laboratory Head plays several key roles in the Agency's Laboratories and the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme: (1) a team leader, ensuring the efficient and effective development and implementation of the FEPL's research, training and services activities; (2) an advisor to the Head of the Food and Environmental Protection Section and to the Director of Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, on programmatic, scientific, technical matters; and advocate for relevant administrative matters.

Applications from qualified women and candidates from developing countries are encouraged.

Further information on the role.

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Government Chemist 2020 Annual Review

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The Government Chemist Annual Review provides a summary of the work undertaken by the Government Chemist team, including highlights from the referee cases, advisory work and capability building activities. The review also details the impact of the work obtained though active engagement with a wide range of stakeholders. The main topics described in this review are:

  • Referee cases: analysis of food for genetically modified organisms, antibiotics in honey and food labelling

  • Advisory role: overview of the activities associated with the advisory role, including responding to enquiries from stakeholders and consultations and horizon scanning on the area of honey authenticity to further facilitate the provision of advice to UK Government on this topic

  • Capability building: the review highlights particular projects the Government Chemist team worked on to be ready for future challenges. In this review, the ongoing work related to food allergy topics, and CBD and controlled cannabinoids is described

  • Knowledge sharing activities to further the impact of the referee and advisory functions: the review highlights some of the knowledge sharing activities undertaken by the team to ensure that the breadth of knowledge generated through the Government Chemist’s programme reaches its target audiences.

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9325334460?profile=RESIZE_584xThe Food Authenticity Network (FAN) is pleased to announce support from the Food Industry Intelligence Network (FIIN), an industry-led consortium which enables a collaborative and targeted approach to supply chain assurance.

Both FAN and FIIN were established in 2015 in response to the recommendations of the ‘Elliott Review’ to respectively, bring together global information on food authenticity testing and to create a ‘safe haven’ for industry members to collect, collate, analyse and disseminate information and intelligence to protect the interests of the consumer.

Helen Sisson, Industry Co-Chair of FIIN said, ‘’On behalf of the FIIN membership we are delighted to commit support for the Food Authenticity Network. One of the FIIN founding objectives is to ‘Help ensure the integrity of food supply chains and protect the interests of the consumer’. In order to support delivery of this objective effective authenticity testing, harnessing advances in analytical testing methodologies and identifying competence and capability in the testing arena is pivotal to FIIN succeeding in its goals. The Food Authenticity Network enhances FIIN with these additional capabilities and therefore our support is a natural extension of the FIIN evolution.’’

Selvarani Elahi MBE, UK Deputy Government Chemist and Executive Director, Food Authenticity Network, said: “I am very happy that FIIN has committed to supporting us as FAN and FIIN share many values and both seek to help secure global food supply chains. FIIN and its 48 food industry Members bring a wealth of invaluable global food industry experience to the Food Authenticity Network, and I definitely think we will be stronger by working together.”

Professor Chris Elliott OBE, Queen’s University Belfast and author of the ‘Elliott Report’1 said: “I am delighted to see how two concepts that were crafted in the Elliott Review have flourished and become such successes. Both FIIN and FAN are unique initiatives with nothing quite like them elsewhere in the world. The challenges of combating food fraud are set to remain and potentially worsen. This collaboration strengthens our position to be able to better combat food fraud collectively and I am very excited to see what FIIN and FAN can achieve together.”

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Horizon Europe Food Authenticity Calls

9240407881?profile=RESIZE_400xHorizon Europe Cluster 6 Work Programme 2021-2022 on Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment includes two proposed calls related to food authenticty:

  • HORIZON-CL6-2022-FARM2FORK-01-04: Innovative solutions to prevent adulteration of food bearing quality labels: focus on organic food and geographical indications p199
  • HORIZON-CL6-2022-FARM2FORK-01-11: Effective systems for authenticity and traceability in the food system p217

Further information can be found at: wp-9-food-bioeconomy-natural-resources-agriculture-and-environment_horizon-2021-2022_en.pdf (

The commission are also hosting a number of information days that run until 16 July for those who might be interested in preparing a proposal. Homepage | Horizon Europe Info Days 2021 (

This site also contains a document library under each topic with useful information.

For UK specific information visit:


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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

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Northern-Ireland researchers have compared the performance of 3 NIRS (near-infrared spectroscopy) instruments in the authentication of coriander seed. The iS50 NIRS benchtop instrument, the portable Flame-NIR and the handheld SCiO device were assessed in conjunction with chemometric analysis in order to determine their predictive capabilities and use as quantitative tools. Two hundred authentic coriander seed samples and 90 adulterated samples were analysed on each device. All instruments correctly predicted 100% of the adulterated samples. The best models resulted in correct predictions of 100%, 98.5% and 95.6% for authentic coriander samples using spectra from the iS50, Flame-NIR and SCiO, respectively. The development of regression models highlighted the limitations of the Flame-NIR and SCiO for quantitative analysis, compared to the iS50. However, in terms of sensitivity, robustness and cost, the Flame-NIR and SCiO instruments can be considered as excellent on-site screening tools when combined with confirmatory testing.

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This review is a chapter in a recently published book -"Biosensors in Agriculture - Recent Trends and Future Perspectives". Lateral flow assays (strips) can play an important role in food authentication, They can be applied on-site, give rapid results, inexpensive, and simple to use. This review examines all the DNA and protein-based lateral flow assays that have been constructed so far for food adulteration detection.

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A Ph.D thesis from the University of Milan-Bicocca in English is publicly available. The thesis gives a good overview of DNA barcoding, NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) and metabarcoding, and isothermal nucleic acid amplification. The research carried out looked at applying DNA barcoding to processed foods, which required smaller DNA fragments. However, the approach is not suitable for mixed species samples, and NGS and metabarcoding approaches were more successful. Finally, an isothermal amplification assay was applied to authenticate truffles.

You can read the 253 page thesis here   

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Sanger sequencing (DNA barcoding) is a robust method for species identification. However, it is not always suitable for species identification of processd mixed species products. Chinese researchers have developed an NGS method based on the amplification and sequencing of shorter 16S rRNA DNA sequences. The assay was developed using a mixture of 8 salmon species, which were all correctly identified even when the species was presented as low as 1%(w/w). It was tested with a market survey of 32 commercial salmon products. Sanger sequencing was used on single species unprocessed products and NGS on mixed species products, which was also cross validated with a real-time PCR assay. The survey revealed that 50% of the samples were mislabelled.

Read the abstract here

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Woman checking vegetables in garden allotment

Food fraud poses a serious threat to the food system. How can we fight against it and be confident that the food we are buying is authentic and safe?

Top Takeaways from this blog

  • Food fraud in EU Member States increased by 85% between 2016 and 2019 (1) and the COVID-19 pandemic is predicted to have increased cases even further (2).
  • All types of food fraud are detrimental to the reputation of the agrifood industry and cause harm to consumers and legitimate businesses.
  • Innovation and collaboration are crucial for the agrifood industry to share best practice and create solutions for food fraud mitigation and prevention.
  • Technologies and digital traceability systems such as blockchain can help to track a food product’s journey through the supply chain and pinpoint the origins of food fraud.
  • Raising awareness about how to identify food fraud, through initiatives such as EIT Food’s Future Learn education courses, is a great way to reduce risks and increase consumer confidence. 

Read full blog, which refers to the Food Authenticity Network as a "great example" of what is being done to mitigate and prevent food fraud.

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Aromatic peanut (groundnut) oil (APO) is produced from roasted peanuts, and hence has stronger peanut aroma than refined peanut oil. It is popular in Chinese, Indian and SE Asian cuisine. Chinese researchers determined the tocopherol content of APO and 4 refined vegetable oils (soybean, sunflower, maize, and rapeseed oils) using hplc with UV detection. The tocopherol isomer content, especially α and γ tocopherols, were found to be the most suitable markers to disciminate between APO and the 4 vegetable oils. In addition, APO was mixed with the 4 oils (at the levels of 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 g/100 g, w/w) to determine whether the tocopherol analysis is a better approach than fatty acid profiling for detecting APO adulteration. The results showed that for tocopherols, the detection limits were 5 g/100 g for soybean oil and 10 g/100 g for other three oils in APO, showing a higher sensitivity than fatty acids profile based method for detecting APO adulteration.  

Read the abstract here

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The Food Standards Agency is reiterating its advice to the CBD industry to submit their novel food applications and move towards compliance with novel food regulations. Companies with suitably validated applications should then be able to continue selling their products in England and Wales until they have been considered by independent scientific committees and a decision on authorisation has been made. 

The criteria for products which can remain on sale from 1 April 2021 has been updated. Previously, only products which were on sale at the time of the FSA’s announcement (13 February 2020) and were linked to an application which had been validated by 31 March 2021 were to be included. To maximise the opportunity to pass validation, this now includes all products linked to an application submitted before 31 March 2021 that is subsequently validated.

Businesses wishing to sell their products in Britain should submit their novel food applications via the new Regulated Products system which is jointly operated by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland.


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 AOAC International's Food Authenticity Task Force has developed standard method performance requirements (SMPR) for targeted and non-targeted food authenticity methods. SMPR set minimum performance criteria that food authenticity testing methods for milk, honey and olive oil need to fulfil. 

Further information was provided in a recent free-of-charge webinar, which can be viewed on registration.

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The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt across the food supply network.

The Chairman of our Advisory Board, Sterling Crew, has published a paper for the IFST, in which he reviews the potential food authenticity challenges created by the pandemic and the mitigation of the emerging risks and threats.

Many of the risk factors for food fraud have increased across the global food supply network due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Steps taken following the horsemeat incident and the Elliott report have strengthened the UK’s food supply network authenticity controls and helped to mitigate vulnerability to COVID-19 related fraud..Chris Elliott

The pandemic has highlighted some of the weaknesses in the nature and complexity of the global food network. The UK food industry must assure the authenticity of food by continuing to minimise the vulnerability to food fraud , by building resilience to possible future shocks and by mitigation of the emerging authenticity risks and created by COVID-19.

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A project has started in Australia to use a portable Xray fluorescence instrument to give an elemental fingerprint in order to verify that seafood being sold in Australian markets originates in Australian waters. Elemental profiles will need to be determined for each species of seafood and the regions from where they are caught. This will give confidence to consumers that the seafood they purchase will not be fraudulently mislabelled as Australian. The project is being run by the Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation and is part of a larger Traceability Grants Program.

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6845726263?profile=RESIZE_400xIsotopic methods have been recognised by CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) and in part by the OIV (Organisation Internationale de la vigne et du vin) as a means of detecting the non-permitted presence of exogenous acetic acid and water in vinegar (CEN) and specifically wine vinegar (OIV). The methods used are EN 16466-1 for D/H in the methyl site of acetic acid [(D/H)CH3] using 2H-SNIF-NMR (Site Specific Natural Isotope Fractionation-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance), EN 16466-2 and OIV 510/2013 for analysis of 13C/12C in acetic acid (δ13C ‰) using IRMS (Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry), and EN 16466-3 and OIV 511/2013 for analysis of 18O/16O in water (δ18O ‰) using IRMS.

An international collaborative trial has been undertaken in 7 laboratories to define standard deviations of repeatability (sr) and reproducibility (sR) for vinegar and balsamic vinegar stable isotope ratios of H (D/H), C (δ13C) and O (δ18O), in order to establish them as fully recognised official standards. The laboratories analysed two samples of wine vinegar, one cider vinegar, and four balsamic vinegars. The results of the trial are in line with those in the literature or reported in corresponding official methods, and sr and sR of balsamic vinegar are in line with those of vinegar and must.

Read the paper here

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This e-seminar, entitled “Fish speciation for food authenticity”, will introduce the viewer to the analytical needs associated with fish speciation for food authenticity, the prevalent methods used in testing laboratories within the UK and European Union, as well as provide a summary of the scope and limitations of these methodologies. 

For further information and to watch the e-seminar go to the e-Semimars tab of the Training page.


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