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paul-dewsbury
Team TFS
Team TFS
food authenticity analysisAlmost daily we read news stories of another food fraud scandal, so I was extremely pleased to learn about the efforts being made in Europe on the issue of food authenticity through presentations, workshops and posters at the recent conference hosted by the EU FoodIntegrity organization. My scientific interest was certainly satisfied as it covered all areas of food adulteration testing from instrument-based techniques: isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) and high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) through to analysis of DNA by real-time PCR systems.

So what was the conference all about? The picture I found for this blog perfectly captures what (after attending the conference) I believe the Food Integrity Network is trying to do. I quote from their site, “A platform for stakeholders and experts to exchange knowledge and expertise in food authenticity, safety and quality; and to rapidly share information and intelligence about suspected and actual incidents to protect consumers and food products from damaging effects of food misdescription. The overall objectives of FI Network is to bring together producers, distributors, processors, retailers, regulators, researchers enforcers and consumers to assure the integrity of the food chain,” – what more could you ask as a consumer, they certainly have the ingredients for success!

Drilling down further, one of the organizing committee members, Paul Brereton (link to profile) from FERA gives a great 4 minute video overview of the Food Integrity project (link to video on the SelectScience website) that is certainly worth watching as he highlights the background information, aims and plans for an early warning system for food fraud

There were some key scientists in attendance and it was a pleasure to hear a very interesting talk by Professor Jana Hajslova (link to profile), who also recently gave a wonderful webinar (shared with Professor Rudolf Krska) titled: Top Three Trends in Food Quality and Authenticity (link to on-demand registration page). If you missed it, I urge you to view it, as not only does it demonstrate the trends but also presents how metabolomic fingerprinting, mycotoxin analysis, and multianalyte–multigroup strategies are aiding food safety, truly fascinating cutting-edge science.

One really interesting technique that was heavily represented at the conference was isotopic analysis in foods; those in the field of food authenticity testing might be familiar with this technique and the fact that it has become a widespread tool in this field. Using isotopic analysis, it is possible to assess the origin of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, the metabolic origin of adulterants in honey, and origin of water in beverages and the climatic conditions during plant growth.

 

Additional Resources


Do check out our Food Community which is a wonderful resource that is totally dedicated to our Food and Beverage customers and features the latest on-demand webinars, videos, application notes, and more.

 

Are the analysis techniques for food fraud of interest to your laboratory? If so, I would like to hear about your challenges and experiences.