food safety (27)

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Ensuring the safety, quality and authenticity is the basic aim of the spice and seasoning trade. The aim of this review is to present the threats to consumers posed by the presence of spice and seasonings in the diet. Of particular interest is the issue of adulteration and mislabelling mentioned in the review.

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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.

Role

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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high-angle photography of grocery display gondolaThe food sector is subject to illegal practices of various types such as adulteration or exploitation of labour. In the media and public discourse, this phenomenon is often associated to activities by organised crime groups. Drawing on a socio-legal empirical study on the perception and conceptualisation of food crime in English and Italian public institutions, this paper unpacks the involvement of organised crime and mafia-type actors in the food sector. Considering data collected through in-depth interviews with representatives of law enforcement and other public authorities, supported by documentary sources, this research points out that, from both an institutional perspective that narrowly conceptualises as food crime as food fraud, as well as from a wider perspective that addresses other practices happening in the food sector, organised crime is involved in food crime. By referring to the English and Italian cases, and by merging different bodies of literature, such as green criminology and enterprise theory, this article advocates for conceptual clarity when referring to the involvement of corporate crime, organised crime and mafia-type groups active in the food sector. In so doing, it presents and reflects upon ‘organised food crime’ as a new socio-legal category and highlights its policy outcomes.

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The same author published another related paper in 2020:

Food Crime: A Review of the UK Institutional Perception of Illicit Practices in the Food Sector

Food offers highly profitable opportunities to criminal actors. Recent cases, from wine and meat adulteration to milk powder contaminations, have brought renewed attention to forms of harmful activities which have long occurred in the food sector. Despite several scandals over the last few decades, food has so far received scant criminological attention and the concept of food crime remains subject to different definitions. This article assesses regulations in the United Kingdom (UK) and UK authorities’ official reports published between 2013 and 2018 through a review of academic literature published in English. It charts the evolution of the food crime concept, its various meanings, and different harmful activities associated with food crime, which originate from unlawful acts and omissions. This article also points out that further criminological research needs to address the definitional issue of food crime and inform a more integrated policy approach by considering activities beyond food fraud and the protection of food safety.

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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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9096096860?profile=RESIZE_584xIn March 2021, the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific published a booklet entitled “Food fraud – Intention, detection and management”. This concise resource explains the key aspects of food fraud, and discusses a set of measures that food safety authorities can take to stop food fraud. Among these, legal interventions combined with the use of new technologies are promising tools.

Examples of these interventions, such as adopting a definition for food fraud and implementing food standards as well as applying DNA barcoding and blockchain technology, are included in the booklet. Links are readily available in the booklet for those who wish to have greater know-how on the guidance on food labelling, technological interventions and food import and export certification systems provided by FAO and the Codex Alimentarius.

Download the publication:
FAO Food safety toolkit booklet 5 - Food fraud – Intention, detection and management

For more information:

 

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battery-hens-c-farm-sanctuary.jpgTwo men and one woman accused of being at the basis of Belgium’s biggest-ever food fraud have been sentenced by a court in Antwerp.

The three were among seven accused and four companies charged with using the insecticide Fipronil (flea control products for pets) in the cleaning of poultry farms. The pollution that was caused as a result led to the destruction of two million hens and 77 million eggs that were polluted with the chemical.

The court heard, that one of the accused failed to inform the poultry farmers of the contents of the product he was using, which was indeed effective in controlling pests, were it not for the small problem of contamination with a banned product. According to witnesses, he told prospective customers the product his company used was reinforced with menthol and eucalyptus.

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Food crime is a key threat to food companies and consumers around the world. The cost to the global food industry for food fraud (which is only one type of crime) has been estimated at around EUR 30 billion every year, according to a 2018 report by the European Commission.


Many companies are making important efforts to reduce and prevent crime from happening across the supply chain and protect their customers and consumers everywhere.


In order to help the food sector to continue strengthening its efforts in preventing food crime, SSAFE has partnered with five leading experts to develop a free educational video series. Dr. John Spink, Dr. Chris Elliott, Dr. Wim Huisman, Jason Bashura and Neal Fredrickson take us on a journey through the world of food fraud, food defence and food integrity – what it is, what the issues are, what is being done, and what can be done in the future in order to help reduce and prevent food crime from occurring.


“Throughout history food crime has been a serious problem” says Adrian Sharp, President of SSAFE. “Working together with some of the best leading experts in the world on food fraud, food defence and food integrity SSAFE continues to help increase awareness and strengthen the food supply chain across the world. This lecture series should be very helpful and informative in helping the food industry, from farm to fork, reduce food crime for a better future.”


This free video series, which can be accessed through the SSAFE website (www.ssafe-food.org), will help people working across the food sector better understand what food crime is, the different types of crime that may occur, and what a food business can do about it. Through a broad series of short videos these global experts share their decades worth of knowledge and experience to help strengthen food supply around the world.


Dr. Chris Elliott says “The SSAFE Food Crime Prevention Series is the first of its kind and I hope that both industry and government agencies will find the videos informative and helpful in combatting the growing menace of criminal activity in our global food system.”


This video series complements other important tools from SSAFE such as the Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment tool developed in 2016 available through the 'Tools' page of the Food Authenticity Network's Food Fraud Mitigation section. This tool (available for free in ten languages) enables any food company to self-assess their vulnerability to food fraud. The tool has been a great success with 40,000+ downloads and more than 7,500 online assessments completed across 70+ countries.


In addition to these tools, SSAFE will be launching a free Food Safety Culture assessment tool this summer. Please visit the SSAFE website next month (April 2021) for further information.

The SSAFE Food Crime Prevention Lecture Series has also been added to the 'Guidance' page of the Food Authenticity Network's Food Fraud Mitigation section.

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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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8388578865?profile=RESIZE_710x14 arrested in Spain and investigations underway in France.
 

The Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil), supported by the French Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale) and Europol have dismantled an organised crime group involved in the production, distribution and sale of alleged organic pistachios which did not meet required ecological standards. 

The operation began in 2019, with various reports of ecological certifications being misused on pistachios that did not adhere to set agricultural standards. The Spanish Civil Guard detected a mix of organic and non-organic pistachio nuts that contained pesticides (including glyphosate and chlorate), illegal under requisites imposed by the Spanish agricultural sector. 

The investigation uncovered that the illegal pesticides were being used to better the quality and quantity of the harvests and increase the monetary value of the production. Marketed as organic the nuts were sold for up to 80% over the retail price of non-organic pistachios. The nuts from the main Spanish distributor were also being sold in France under false organic certifications. 

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In this article, Emily Miles, Head of the Food Standards Agency, and Prof Chris Elliott, Queens University Belfast, discuss the impact of reduced funding to local authorities (LAs) at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) Food Safety Conference. Emily Miles noted the 20% reduction in food professionals (Environmental Health Officers and Trading Standards Officers) for 2020/21 and what it might mean for food safety, and the effect on our future trade after Brexit. Prof Elliott spoke about the seven principles of food integrity: food should be safe; authentic; nutritious; systems used to produce food should be sustainable; ethical; we have to respect and protect the environment and all those people who produce food.The budget cuts for sampling and testing could lead to a two-tier system in the UK, where large food retailers and manufacturers continue their own very effective food integrity assurance, but leave the SMEs in a very vulnerable position.

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Consumer Survey Reveals Concern About Food Fraud

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Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC)  conducted a survey  which questioned over 1,750 consumers in the US, UK and China. The effect of Covid-19 was a major concern with consumers, and  73% of respondents believe that the pandemic will impact on the viability of the global supply chain. Moreover, 71% think it will affect global access to food.  Other issues of concern were food safety and food fraud, with 60% of respondents said they are worried about keeping food safe from toxins and bacteria, and 58% revealed they are concerned about preventing food fraud.    

 
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Thanks very much to one of our new Centres of Expertise GfL for bringing to our attention this German investigative TV show Frontal 21 addressing the very important topic of the use of illegal pesticides.

This is another example of where an authenticity issue can have a very direct effect on food safety. The consequences for nature and humans are incalculable. Nobody knows what these pesticides are made of, which and how much toxins they contain.

The Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety has already examined dozens of suspicious samples this year and discovered many counterfeit or unapproved pesticides. In the first half of the year alone, Europol has seized over 1,300 tons of illegal pesticides, a new record. The European police authority estimates the proportion of counterfeits in the total amount of all pesticides at 14 to 15 percent.

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Abstract

Milk and milk products play a vital role in diets around the globe. Due to their nutritional benefits there has been an increase in production and consumption over the past thirty years. For this growth to continue the safety and authenticity of dairy products needs to be maintained which is a huge area of concern. Throughout the process, from farm to processor, different sources of contamination (biological, chemical or physical) may occur either accidently or intentionally. Through online resources (the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) and HorizonScan) safety and fraud data were collected from the past five years relating to milk and milk products. Cheese notifications were most frequently reported for both safety alerts (pathogenic micro-organisms) and fraud incidences (fraudulent documentation). Alongside the significant number of biological contaminations identified, chemical, physical and inadequate controls (in particular; foreign bodies, allergens, industrial contaminants and mycotoxins) were also found. Although the number of incidents were significantly smaller, these contaminants can still pose a significant risk to human health depending on their toxicity and exposure. Grey literature provided a summary of contamination and fraud issues from around the globe and shows its potential to be used alongside database resources for a holistic overview. In ensuring the integrity of milk during ever changing global factors (climate change, competition between food and feed and global pandemics) it is vital that safety and authenticity issues are continually monitored by industry, researchers and governing bodies.

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6429640493?profile=RESIZE_400x The FSA's Chief Scientific Adviser, Prof Guy Poppy has published on 17 June his review of risk analysis, which began in 2018. Risk analysis is the process of estimating risks to human and/or animal health, identifying and implementing measures to control the risks, and communicating these risks and measures to relevant parties. It has three components: risk assessment, led by science and evidence; risk management, the consideration of management options available by policy officials; and risk  communication. When the UK leaves the EU on 1 January 2021, European legislation on food and feed safety will move into UK law to provide continuation of the rules. However, the FSA and FSS will be reponsible for the most of the risk analysis functions that were previously provided by EFSA. The report outlines the FSA's response to this future change:

1. A clearer separation between our risk assessment and risk management to ensure the scientific integrity of risk assessment;
2. An expanded role for our Scientific Advisory Committees (SACs), strengthened by recruiting additional experts and by establishing three new Joint  Expert Groups (JEGs);
3. A new UK process for authorising regulated products such as food and feed additives, enzymes, 3 flavourings, novel foods, GM food and feed.

The new approach to risk analysis will also include: 
• Developing food and feed safety standards and controls based on scientific evidence e.g. policies, guidance, controls and enforcement;
• Pre-market approvals and post-market reviews of regulated food and feed products;
• Risk-based import controls;
• Handling incidents and food crime.

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4922013891?profile=RESIZE_400xThe restrictions which many countries have brought into place to manage the spread of Covid-19 have in turn severely impacted the Food industry Buying patterns have changed resulting in panic buying testing the ability of some food chains to respond whilst on the other hand closures of food service outlets and non-food retail has resulted in loss of markets for others.

Much of the focus in factories has rightly been on changing the way that we work to safeguard the health of our workers by providing a safe working environment introducing social distancing. The changes which we have all had to make also introduce new challenges to the way that we manage food safety with potential disruption to supply chains, staff absenteeism and an influx of new temporary workers to the food industry.

This guidance document has been produced to complement the BRCGS Food Safety Standard to help managers fine tune their food safety management systems to cope with the new position which the food industry now faces.

BRCGS Guidance Document – Managing Food Safety During Covid-19.

 

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A national survey of CBD products by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has found that the majority of products analysed were in breach of various articles of food law and some posed potential safety risks for consumers.

The survey reveals that 37% of the products tested had a THC* content that could result in safety limits set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) being significantly exceeded and the implicated batches of these products are currently being recalled. In addition, it was found that the analytically determined CBD content in over 40% of samples varied significantly (>50%) from the declared CBD content.

The implications of these results for consumers range from consumers being grossly misled to being put at risk by the ingestion of relatively high levels of THC. The majority of the 38 products tested from the Irish market were manufactured outside of the country.

The FSAI is working with the Environmental Health Service of the HSE and the relevant food businesses in relation to the matter.

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3640762870?profile=RESIZE_710xAdulteration is a growing food safety concern worldwide. Previous studies have implicated turmeric as a source of lead (Pb) exposure due to the addition of lead chromate (PbCrO4), a yellow pigment used to enhance brightness. This study aimed to assess the practice of adding yellow pigments to turmeric and producer- consumer- and regulatory-factors affecting this practice across the supply chain in Bangladesh.

Nine major turmeric-producing districts of Bangladesh, as well as two districts with minimal turmeric production, were identified and visited. In each district, semi-structured interviews were conducted and informal observations were made with individuals involved in the production, consumption, and regulation of turmeric. Perceptions of and preferences for turmeric quality.

Samples of yellow pigments and turmeric were collected from the most-frequented wholesale and retail markets. Samples were analysed for Pb and chromium (Cr) concentrations via inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and x-ray fluorescence.

The study found evidence of PbCrO4-based yellow pigment adulteration in 7 of the 9 major turmeric-producing districts.

Turmeric wholesalers reported that the practice of adding yellow pigments to dried turmeric root during polishing began more than 30 years ago and continues today, primarily driven by consumer preferences for colourful yellow curries.

The results from this study indicate that PbCrO4 is being added to turmeric by polishers, who are unaware of its neurotoxic effects, in order to satisfy wholesalers who are driven by consumer demand for yellow roots. The study recommends immediate intervention that engages turmeric producers and consumers to address this public health crisis and ensure a future with Pb-free turmeric.

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Whilst deliberate adulteration of herbs and spices is understood to be a common phenomenon, this study highlights a potential food safety issue:

Between 2008 and 2017, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tested more than 3000 samples of consumer products during lead poisoning case investigations and surveys of local stores, and of these, spices were the most frequently tested (almost 40% of the samples).

 

A total of 1496 samples of more than 50 spices from 41 countries were collected during investigations of lead poisoning cases among New York City children and adults and local store surveys.

More than 50% of the spice samples had detectable lead, and more than 30% had lead concentrations greater than 2 parts per million (ppm). Average lead content in the spices was significantly higher for spices purchased abroad than in the United States. The highest concentrations of lead were found in spices purchased in the countries Georgia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Morocco.

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