Defra has published the final report of Project FA0185, which is a review of the state of the art of methods for offal species identification, and identify new methodology that is fit for purpose for offal identification in meat products. This will provide enforcement authorities with tools to verify labelling of offal in meat products and detect the undeclared presence of offal tissue in meat products – protecting consumers from food fraud.

The aim of the project was:  

To identify the most appropriate methodology of offal detection in meat products that is applicable to real-world scenario usage and general implementation to support UK enforcement. Once the method has been identified, future work will be drawn up to validate and disseminate the methodology.

The objectives of the research were:

  1. Make a comprehensive review of current capabilities and emerging technologies to determine offal. This will include a literature review (of both grey literature and peer-reviewed academic literature) and engaging with academia, instrument and technology manufacturers, the UK meat industry and enforcement agencies. The outcome will be a report of the information and a comparison of the methods or potential emerging technology.
  2. Determine critical requirements to identify end user needs. This will involve setting up a stakeholder group with Defra to review and determine the critical requirements of a method to detect offal in meat products.
  3. Design scenarios required by Government in support of industry, and a proof of concept analysis using the most promising approaches identified in Objectives 1 & 2. Firstly, taking into account intelligence from survey work by Defra and from wider government and stakeholders, the most appropriate offal types to focus on will be identified. Secondly, up to three of the most appropriate technologies identified in the first objective will be trialled at Fera with two different offals.
  4. The submit a final report with all the findings and data generated during the project including a comparison table of all the road tested technologies, a recommended method/test to determine the adulteration of food with offal and a scoping study to detail the future requirements to ensure the method is fit for purpose.

The project report can be downloaded here, and the link found in the Research Table under FA0185

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