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Global Food Safety Conference 2016 1/2016 eFOOD-Lab international 37 safety management system to protect consumers from the potential harm caused by food fraud practices” 3. The Food Fraud Think Tank’s investigation led to two main recommendations or food fraud mitigation steps that will be incorporated into the GFSI’s guidance document in the near future. These key elements are, first of all, a requirement to carry out a ‘vulnerability assessment’ in order to identify potential weaknesses in the supply chain, and secondly, to have in place a documented ‘vulnerability mitigation plan’ with appropriate measures, including an analytical testing strategy, to target food fraud risk. Such mitigation measures call for a SMART testing strategy. This can be summarized as a comprehensive plan which is Specific (it directly targets the results of the vulnerability assessments); Measurable (it takes into account associated level of risk); Assignable (it makes clears who is responsible and where testing should be carried out); Realistic (it uses available resources and testing procedures) and Traceable (it keeps documented records to spot trends and avoid future incidents). Selecting the right analytical method is a key component of such a strategy to mitigate the food fraud risk. The problem here is that there are many techniques to choose from, not an easy task for the non-specialist. As part of the European Commission-funded project Food Integrity, we are currently building up a food fraud Knowledge Base 4. This is Webbased device will provide information on the type, frequency, and impact of various food fraud practices together with recommended analytical strategies to deal with the problem. The plan is to make the Knowledge Base publically available in the near future. It will be an invaluable tool to help food operators set up a food fraud mitigation strategy. Of course very simple fraudulent practices can be picked up by simply checking the labels on incoming goods or by a quick visual and/or organoleptic inspection of the food ingredient. More complex frauds, on the other hand, require delving a bit deeper. Traditional physical and chemical methods supply basic compositional data that can help in checking a product’s authenticity. Analytical evidence of a component that should not be present, or else is present in excessive amounts compared to an authentic product, is often proof of an adulterated or non-authentic product. Today’s novel analytical approach is to move away from “ targeted” testing, that is to say looking for a specific known adulterant or contaminant, towards an “untargeted” strategy. Since food fraud is generally unpredictable, the traditional targeted approach will not always find the potential problem. The melamine crisis is one of the best examples, but the recent case of horse meat is also a case in point. Only looking for turkey and pork as possible adulterants meant that horse went undetected. This is the new holistic approach to food fraud testing applying analytical tools to build up an overall picture or fingerprint of the food product and using sophisticated data analysis to highlight potential problems by comparison with a database of reference profiles. The greatest strides have been made in two main areas. The first involves chemical profiling using spectroscopic techniques such as near (NIR) and mid infrared (MIR) and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopies. These generally target fraud involving the addition, removal or modification of a chemical component. The second is biomolecular profiling using various DNA -based techniques which is used to detect mislabeling or substitution of an animal or marine species, or plant variety. The very latest here is Next Generation Sequencing, a term encompassing a number of new DNA sequencing technologies. The advantage of this new DNA testing is the ability to simultaneously sequence a large number of DNA molecules in one sample and provide a clear picture of all the ingredients in a food product. At the recent GFSI Global Food Safety conference held in Berlin 5, we illustrated the potential of untargeted profiling with the example of the use of NMR to ensure honey authenticity. As an added value product with universally-accepted health benefits, honey has often been the victim of economic adulteration by addition of cheaper extenders such as sugar. Although a range of analytical techniques are available to ensure compliance with regulatory or trade compositional guidelines, the addition of cheap sugar sources can prove difficult to detect as these closely mimic the composition of the main sugars in honey. High throughput profiling using proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy is now becoming an established and accepted method for the rapid screening of food products to demonstrate their authenticity and detect adulteration. Based on previous research studies, Eurofins laboratories have developed an innovative approach using this technique to tackle the most common adulterations in honey. In this method, each honey sample is treated as a combination of characteristic peaks in the NMR spectrum. Sample preparation is simple and the NMR measurement time is around 20 minutes making it possible to screen a large number of samples. The data from the spectrum is fed into a robust statistical model built up from a worldwide collection of honey samples,


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