Each week, we’re scouring the headlines for the stories and trends changing the food safety landscape.
In this week’s round up: Canadian government and University partner discover undeclared meat in 1 of 5 sausages studied; Alarming rates of Chinese food fraud spur a rise in fraud detection tactics and tech; New technology brings testing in house for significant capital and storage cost reduction; and the CDC awards $200 million for infectious disease control.
Undeclared meats found in 1 out of 5 Canadian sausages
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency launched an inquiry into Canadian products following the 2013 horse meat scandal in the U.K. The government agency partnered with University of Guelph researcher Robert Hanner and analyzed 100 sausages that listed only one ingredient: pork, chicken, turkey, or beef. Their findings were alarming – 1 in 5 sausages tested contained meat that wasn’t listed on the package.
“’The good news is that typically beef sausages predominantly contain beef, but some of them also contain pork, so for our kosher and halal consumers, that is a bit disconcerting,’ Hanner said.”
Unfortunately, the undeclared meats were too high to be trace levels – indicating food fraud. The agency was heartened that the 20 percent mislabeling rate was low compared to European studies – which have shown up to 70 percent mislabeling.
Get the details of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and University of Guelph study: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/sausage-science-1.4234568
Rampant Food Fraud in China creates a thriving detection industry
Food fraud costs global food producers an estimated $40 billion annually. The issue is especially pronounced in China. New York based firm Insatech founder Mitchell Weinberg says global rates of fraud can be around 70 percent – but in China, he has seen incidences up to 100 percent – across a variety of food groups. As the nation’s share of global food production grows, companies are looking for new ways to protect themselves and consumers. Weinberg’s company relies on informants and molecular marker testing to catch culprits. Other companies, like Wal-Mart and Chinese retail giant Alibaba, are testing blockchain technology which follows food from farm to fork.
Chinese authorities have also invested $800 million in food safety monitoring after the melamine baby food scandals, but the issue remains pervasive.
“‘Food-fraud will always exist,’ said Yongning Wu, chief scientist at the government-run China National Center For Food Safety Risk Assessment. While authorities in China have joined the global fight against the scourge, Wu doesn’t see the problem disappearing. ‘We can only develop technology to detect it,’ he said.”
The U.K.’s Independent newspaper dives into the technology and tactics investigators are using to address the issue:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-fake-food-sector-unlicensed-products-knock-offs-supply-chain-contamination-public-health-a7880341.html
Breakthrough technology makes in-house testing a viable option for small business; reduces costs and wait times
Recent studies show approximately 50 percent of manufacturers test for pathogens in-house, while the other 50 percent use an outside laboratory. For large-scale manufacturers, costs can be negotiated, but small to medium scale manufacturers pay dearly for running averages of 25 tests a day or fewer. For these businesses, it is impossible to recoup capital of up to $100,000 to run in-house tests in a short enough time. However, recent breakthroughs in molecular technology mean some companies are able to utilize in-house testing at just 10 percent of that cost.
One Alaskan fish producer conducted a side by side test of representative product and found in-house testing produced the same results as an outside testing firm – at lower cost and with a much faster turnaround time.
”[The trial results] enabled the seafood processor to establish its in-house testing program and reduce sample turnaround times, which resulted in a reduction in storage and inventory costs, as well as a reduction in overall food safety program costs.”
Details of the technology, field trial, and other applications are in this month’s issue of Food Manufacturing: http://digital.foodmanufacturing.com/foodmanufacturing/july_august_2017?pg=14#pg14
CDC announces $200 million to combat infectious disease
The Centers for Disease Control has announced $200 million to control and respond to threats from infectious diseases. This includes $77 million earmarked for state health departments to combat antibiotic resistance; $32 million to bolster detection and response to foodborne, waterborne and fungal diseases, and $6 million to training public health workers.
“They will help states build capacity for Advanced Molecular Detection, a field that combines next-generation genomic sequencing with bioinformatics to quickly identify and respond to disease outbreaks,” the release states.
Get full announcement details of the CDC’s award here: http://www.foodqualitynews.com/R-D/CDC-invests-200m-in-response-to-infectious-disease-threats
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