honey (10)

10468799056?profile=RESIZE_400xThis article summaries the potential problems to the food supply chain to Western Europe as a result of the war in Ukraine, and in particular, the effects of exports from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. Ukraine is a major exporter of cereals especially wheat, sunflower oil, soyabean oil, soyabeans and soyabean cake, honey and dried pulses and legumes. Russia is a major exporter of fish, cereals, sunflower oil and poultrymeat.

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In response to many questions posted in the chat of the Webinar on the Global Honey Supply Chain that took place on 19 January 2022, the page on the Government Chemist website has been updated with work in progress on honey authenticity:

"This webinar and the consequent e-seminar is part of a suite of activities Defra, FSA, FSS and the Government Chemist are jointly working on to address some of the underpinning scientific issues that have emerged on the subject of honey testing and a number of workstreams are in progress.

Two further e-seminars, which will assist in disseminating information on honey authenticity testing, are in production. These cover using NMR testing for the determination of exogenous sugars in honey and best practice in establishing and curating databases for food authenticity. Work is also underway to develop guidance on applying a weight of evidence approach for food authenticity analysis, to pilot accreditation of non-targeted authenticity testing methods, to improve consistency and confidence in testing and reporting and to explore a data trust framework to share information on the honey supply chain and testing between interested communities. This will be followed by activity to standardise a protocol for the collection of authentic honey samples and to establish a framework for the scrutiny of authenticity databases. We are collaborating with key stakeholders on all these initiatives to secure the best outcome for all.

FSA’s blog on the complexities of honey authenticity, includes links to the recently published Government Chemist independent review of methods for honey authenticity testing and of the analytical reports underpinning recent allegations of honey fraud."

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10081165080?profile=RESIZE_400xThe UK Government Chemist team, hosted at LGC, has recently had two significant scientific papers published in Nature Portfolio Journal, npj-Science of Food, highlighting the increasing complexity of honey authentication.

The papers (Honey authenticity: the opacity of analytical reports - part 1 defining the problem; and part 2, forensic evaluative reporting as a potential solution) are based on a story that appeared in the UK media in November 2020 - Supermarket brands of honey are 'bulked out with cheap sugar syrups made from rice and corn’ – after which the Food Standards Agency asked the Government Chemist to investigate the methods that underpinned the story.

The papers address the complex composition of honey, and how an interpretive system used in forensic science could help to improve evaluation of analytical findings and assessment of their strength, which, in turn, can help to make authentication of honey more robust.

The authors propose the adoption of ‘evaluative reporting’, which would see the acceptance of a formalised ‘likelihood ratio’ (LR) thought process used in forensic science for evaluation of findings and assessment of their strength. In the absence of consensus on techniques for honey authenticity, adoption of evaluative reporting will allow objective assessment, with equity to all, and a better basis to identify and address honey fraud.

 

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Animal origin food products, including fish and seafood, meat and poultry, milk and dairy foods, and other related products play significant roles in human nutrition. However, fraud in this food sector frequently occurs, leading to negative economic impacts on consumers and potential risks to public health and the environment. Therefore, the development of analytical techniques that can rapidly detect fraud and verify the authenticity of such products is of paramount importance.


Traditionally, a wide variety of targeted approaches, such as chemical, chromatographic, molecular, and protein-based techniques, among others, have been frequently used to identify animal species, production methods, provenance, and processing of food products. Although these conventional methods are accurate and reliable, they are destructive, time-consuming, and can only be employed at the laboratory scale. On the contrary, alternative methods based mainly on spectroscopy have emerged in recent years as invaluable tools to overcome most of the limitations associated with
traditional measurements. The number of scientific studies reporting on various authenticity issues investigated by vibrational spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, and fluorescence spectroscopy has increased substantially over the past few years, indicating the tremendous potential of these techniques in the fight against food fraud.

This manuscript reviews the state-of-the-art research advances since 2015 regarding the use of analytical methods applied to detect fraud in food products of animal origin, with particular attention paid to spectroscopic measurements coupled with chemometric analysis. The opportunities and challenges surrounding the use of spectroscopic techniques and possible future directions are also be discussed.

Read full paper here.

 

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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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An interlaboratory comparison (ILC) was organised by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre to provide an opportunity for interested laboratories to assess and compare their competence in determining the 13C/12C ratios of fructose, glucose, di- and trisaccharides in honey by using liquid chromatography – isotope ratio mass spectrometry (LC-IRMS).

Fourteen laboratories participated in the ILC and tested six honey samples. The majority of the participating laboratories demonstrated the proficient use of the applied LC-IRMS for mono-, di- and trisaccharides in honey, which will allow them to apply the technique for detecting adulterated honey samples within the scope of the method. Further guidance on the proper detection and evaluation of the oligosaccharide fraction will be needed to provide proof that the method is fit for compliance assessment of honey with purity criteria.

In general, the results of the ILC demonstrate that LC-IRMS is a suitable technique for determining carbon isotope ratios of fructose, glucose, di- and trisaccharides in honey with sufficient precision and it is fit for assessing whether sugar syrups have been added to honey, within the limits of the method.

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The Government Chemist, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) held a UK seminar on honey authenticity: determination of exogenous sugars by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) on 13 November 2019, which was attended by 57 people representing stakeholder organisations.

The aim of the seminar was to bring together stakeholders involved in honey production and analysis to discuss this topic and ideally come to an agreed position. It was anticipated that the output of this seminar would help inform future UK government policy on the use of NMR for honey authenticity.

The seminar consisted of a series of presentations from invited experts that set the scene for the workshop part of the day, which involved participants splitting into four representative groups to discuss the suitability of NMR for enforcement purposes and to identify gaps and priorities to assessing the use of NMR for the appraisal of honey authenticity.

The report details the aims and outputs of the seminar.Honey authenticity: determination of exogenous sugars by NMR Seminar Report (PDF, 913KB, 19 pages)

Presentations are also available

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Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy has increasingly been applied in the field of food authenticitation. Its instrumental variability is very low so that it is possible to compile large databases of authentic spectra. This review discusses the application of NMR for authenticating honey, beer and spices. For honey, it is possible to verify the botanical origin and exclude adulteration with sugars. In beer analysis, it is possible to distinguish between major beer types and to detect the geographical origin of beer. In spice analysis, NMR allows to detect crude adulterations (e.g. of saffron) or quantify marker ingredients such as essential oils.

                 Read the full review at: NMR authentication

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