food safety (36)

 

10884938055?profile=RESIZE_400xThis review is a chapter in a book entitled "Blockchain in Finance, Marketing and Others". It explains the workings of blockchain, and its applicability in monitoring and verifying the data and information in the food chain from farm to fork. It covers how blockchain can address the challenges faced in ensuring food supplies deal with food safety, food fraud and food waste issues, as well as its benefits.

Read the full chapter here

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10604752891?profile=RESIZE_710xThis report describes the key changes in food standards from 2019 to 2021, a period when the UK’s food system was affected by our departure from the EU and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food standards, of course, mean different things to different people. For the purposes of this report, The Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland looked at standards in two ways:
1. Food and feed safety (including allergen management) – that is, ensuring the product is safe to consume, or, in the case of feed, safe for introduction into the food chain. A number of factors are taken into account when proposing safety standards, including advice from the FSA and FSS risk assessors and wider experts as well as other aspects such as the principles that may determine consumer
acceptability of risk. 
2. Other standards that support consumers and provide assurance – this includes provenance and authenticity, production standards (for example, animal welfare and sustainability), composition and nutritional content, labelling and advertising of food, and other information that enables consumers to make informed choices based on the values that are important to them.

Key Findings
The evidence set out in this report suggests that overall food safety standards have largely been maintained during 2021. However, this is a cautious conclusion. The pandemic disrupted regular inspections, sampling and audits across the food system, reducing the amount of data we can draw upon in assessing business compliance against food law requirements. It also changed patterns of consumer behaviour. While food safety standards have largely been maintained, both organisations recognise there are significant risks ahead.

The report highlights two particular areas of concern:

  1. Firstly there has been a fall in the level of local authority inspections of food businesses. The situation is in the process of being repaired – in particular in food hygiene inspections of cafés and restaurants – but progress is being constrained by resource and the availability of qualified professionals.
  2. The second is in relation to the import of food from the EU. To enhance levels of assurance on higher-risk EU food like meat, dairy and eggs, and food and feed that has come to the UK via the EU, it is essential that improved controls are put in place to the timescale that the UK Government has set out (by the end of 2023). The longer the UK operates without assurance from the exporting country that products meet the UK’s high food and feed safety standards, the less confident we can be that we can effectively identify potential safety incidents. It is vital that the UK has the ability to prevent entry of unsafe food and identify and respond to changing risks. Although we have considered these challenges carefully and put other arrangements within our control in place, they are not, in our view, sufficient. We are therefore committed to working with government departments to ensure that the introduction of these improved import controls provides high levels of protection for UK consumers.

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Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) is an instrument which seperates ionised molecules in an electric field against a counterflow of neutral drift gas at atmospheric pressure. Heavier ionised molecules will collide more often with the drift gas, and hence move more slowly in the electric field compared to lighter molecules. IMS has high sensitivity, and is useful in fingerprinting applications, and can be used as a stand alone instrument or coupled with a mass spectrometer. As the number applications of IMS has increased in the past few years, this paper reviews its use in food safety and authenticity applications.

Read the full open access paper (by clicking on "view pdf") here

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10243435857?profile=RESIZE_584xThe Food Standards Agency (FSA) is warning members of the public not to buy or eat counterfeit ‘Wonka Bars’, which are being sold in shops and online across the country.

The counterfeit bars may be unsafe to eat, as there is a possibility that they are being produced or repackaged by unregistered businesses and by individuals who could be contravening food hygiene, labelling and traceability laws.

Some counterfeit Wonka Bars removed from sale have been found to contain allergens which weren’t listed on the label, posing a major health risk to anyone who suffers from a food allergy or intolerance.

The FSA’s warning comes after a sharp increase in reports of the counterfeit chocolate bars on sale over the past year.

Tina Potter, Head of Incidents at the Food Standards Agency, said: 

“With Easter less than a month away, it is more important than ever that parents and grandparents are aware of the risks that these bogus chocolate bars could pose to their children, particularly those living with a food allergy or intolerance.

“There is no way of knowing what ingredients are in these bars or what food hygiene practices are being followed by the people making or repackaging them.

“If you have bought these knock-off bars, do not eat them or give them to friends and family.”

Any Wonka-branded chocolate which does not feature the official ‘Ferrero’ or ‘Ferrara Candy Company’ trademarks on the label is likely to be a counterfeit product and there is no way to know if it is safe to eat.

The Food Standards Agency is continuing to investigate further reports with support from local authority partners.

Letters have been sent to local authorities responsible for investigating and enforcing food law to advise them to remove any fake products from sale where there is a known or suspected public health risk.

Any members of the public who have bought or spot counterfeit Wonka Bars on shelves or online are advised to raise the issue with the retailer and report the matter to their Local Authority so that action can be taken.

FSA alert

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10176410674?profile=RESIZE_710x A new FAO publication Thinking about the future of food safety – A foresight report, was released on Monday 7 March, outlining how major global drivers and trends will shape food safety in tomorrow’s world.

All food needs to be safe for human consumption; thus, appropriate food safety measures must form the core of food production in our agrifood systems. As agrifood systems are transformed to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, there is need to develop and maintain a deep understanding of the future opportunities, threats and challenges ahead of us.

This foresight report explores the impact of major global drivers and trends on food safety, including climate change, changing consumer behaviour and food consumption patterns, new food sources and food production systems, technological advances, microbiome science, circular economy and food fraud:

Climate change: Increasing temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, unpredictable and severe extreme weather events, and others, are disrupting both food and nutrition security. This chapter of the publication describes the multi-faceted impacts of climate change on food safety by affecting the severity and occurrence of various food safety hazards – e.g., mycotoxins, algal blooms, foodborne pathogens. The chapter draws in information from published FAO reports on the topic – Climate change: Unpacking the burden on food safety (2020) and Climate change: Implications for food safety (2008).

Changing consumer preferences and food consumption patterns: Today’s consumers change their purchasing behaviours in response to a multitude of factors – from environmental sustainability and climate change to socioeconomic factors, as well as concerns regarding their own health and animal welfare. Changes in consumer diets also trigger changes in dietary risks arising from potential contaminants found in food. To continue to stay relevant and adequately protect consumer health, food safety risk assessment processes need to keep up with the changing consumer consumption patterns.

New food sources and food production systems are increasingly being explored with the goal of achieving improved environmental sustainability and/or nutritional benefits. “New food” here is meant to cover food that has been historically consumed in specific regions of the world but has recently materialized in the global retail space. “New food production systems” include recently discovered techniques and materials in the food sector. In this regard, the various food safety implications for edible insects, seaweed, jellyfish, plant-based alternatives, and cell-based food production are discussed under this topic.

Agriculture within urban spaces: Rapid urbanization, expansion of global cities and food security concerns are drawing attention to growing food within urban areas. While urban agriculture includes food grown both around and within urban spaces, in this publication the focus is on the latter or intra-urban agriculture. This form of farming comes in various forms, from backyard gardens and community farms to innovative indoor vertical farming approaches (hydroponic, aeroponic, aquaponic). Some key food safety concerns associated with intra-urban agriculture, arising from soils used, water sources, air pollution, and various other chemical hazards are discussed as well as the importance of establishing adequate regulatory frameworks specific to urban food systems.

Exploring circular economy through plastic recycling: Increased attention to environmental sustainability and depletion of natural resources have put emphasis on the concept of circular economy, which is being explored in various sectors of the agrifood systems. The topic of circular economy and the various food safety considerations are explored in this publication through the example of recycling and reuse of plastics, in particular those that are in contact with food, such as food packaging.

Microbiome science: Microbiomes (includes all microorganisms – bacteria, viruses and fungi – that live within the human gut and around us) in agrifood systems and along the food chain are not isolated and can interact with each other. The human gut microbiome sits at the end of the food chain and therefore, is exposed to both biological and chemical contaminants present in the diet. Emerging and still evolving technologies have enabled the study of microbiomes and the interactions with their ecosystems, thereby offering opportunities to utilize this knowledge for improving food safety risk assessments and subsequently consumer health.

Technological innovations and scientific advances: Emerging technologies in food production, processing, distribution and at the retail level are providing better tools for increased food safety along food chains by improving traceability, greater detection of contaminants in food, better outbreak investigations, and reduced vulnerabilities for food fraud. A few such emerging technologies – nanotechnology, intelligent packaging, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing of food, among others – are outlined in the publication while discussing both opportunities and challenges that come with them.

Food fraud: The issue of food fraud tends to evoke a strong response among consumers with current narrative focusing on the widespread and ever-increasing prevalence of the issue. However, food fraud is a complex area and the publication highlights this complexity and attempts to shift the narrative to discuss the concept of trust built into food control systems.

Access the publication here

https://doi.org/10.4060/cb8667en

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10175402899?profile=RESIZE_400xThe Global Harmonization Initiative's (GHI) Whistleblower Food Safety Incident Report Site is now available in over 30 languages at: https://whistle.globalharmonization.net to anyone, in any country, who works in the food and beverage industry.

Until now, there has never been a global reporting system for food safety concerns that is really anonymous. As a deterrent to unscrupulous food suppliers, the GHI first launched the Whistleblower Food Safety Incident Report site in August 2021 in English, and it is now available in over 30 languages. 

GHI ask people to report if they are aware of anything that is wrong with food to the extent that consumption may cause serious harm and they see no other way to prevent such harm. GHI will then evaluate the incident and act upon it in the most appropriate way. The facts provided will be checked to judge if the incident:

  1. is real and can indeed do serious harm to people's health
  2. or:
    • is intended to defame a company or individuals
    • is intended to take revenge
    • is due to misplaced humour.

Anyone who chooses to report an incident can be assured that their report is anonymous – in fact, even GHI does not know who has submitted a report. This is to protect the identity of whistleblowers. 

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10162382496?profile=RESIZE_584xThis is Tenet's quarterly publication helping in house counsel and those from a science background assessing food safety keep up to date with current and emerging fraud related risks.

If you work in the food and drinks industry and take an interest in fraud and financial crime impact in the sector, please take a look at the 3rd issue of The Secret Ingredient.

 

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10047990673?profile=RESIZE_710xFood and You 2 is a biannual survey which measures self-reported consumer knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to food safety and other food issues amongst adults in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

The survey is primarily carried out online using a methodology known as ‘push-to-web’.

Fieldwork was conducted between 28 April 2021 and 25 June 2021. A total of 6,271 adults from 4,338 households across England, Wales and Northern Ireland completed the survey.

Topics covered in the Food and You 2: Wave 3 Key Findings report include:

  • Confidence in food safety, authenticity and the food supply chain  
  • Concerns about food  
  • Food security
  • Food shopping and labelling 
  • Online platforms 
  • Food-related behaviours and eating habits.

Main findings

  • Most respondents (90%) reported that they were confident that the food they buy is safe to eat
  • More than 8 in 10 (83%) respondents were confident that the information on food labels is accurate
  • Almost three quarters of respondents (73%) reported that they had confidence in the food supply chain
  • Three quarters (75%) of respondents who had at least some knowledge of the FSA reported that they trusted the FSA to make sure ‘food is safe and what it says it is’
  • Most respondents (80%) had no concerns about the food they eat, and only 20% of respondents reported that they had a concern. The most common prompted concerns, from a given list of food related issues, were related to the amount of sugar in food (63%), and food waste (61%).
  • Across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, 85% of respondents were classified as food secure (72% high, 13% marginal) and 15% of respondents were classified as food insecure (9% low, 6% very low)
  • Most respondents reported that they often check the use-by (84%) or best before (82%) date when they have bought food.
  • Most respondents (83%) who go food shopping and take into consideration a person who has a food allergy or intolerance were confident that the information provided on food labelling allows them to identify foods that will cause a bad or unpleasant physical reaction
  • Around half (52%) of respondents had ordered food or drink via on online ordering and delivery company (for example, Just Eat, Deliveroo, Uber Eats) and 30% had ordered via an online marketplace (for example Amazon, Gumtree, Etsy)
  • Eating habits had changed for most respondents in the last 12 months, with only 19% of respondents indicating that there had been no change in their eating habits

Read final report and technical report.

DOI https://doi.org/10.46756/sci.fsa.ejl793

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Fake wines and spirits costs the global drinks industry Euros 2.7bn in sales across the EU according to figures from the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Food Standards Scotland -Food Crime and Incidents Unit have warned that there is a large scale national trade in counterfeit drinks, which targets the low to medium priced market leading brands of vodka and wine. This trade damages legitimate beverage businesses and retailers, and is often linked to organised crime outside of Scotland. In addition, counterfeit spirits may also present a risk to health.

Read the article here

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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.

You can read the full open access paper.

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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.

Read open access paper.

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.

Read full article here.

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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. 

Read full article.

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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.

Read the aricle here

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