Include Laboratory-Based Testing in Your Food Fraud Solution

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2019 by Global Food Safety Resource

By Cameron Scadding

Innovation in analytical science methods is uncovering food safety and food fraud issues faster than ever before, but the pace of detection is moving faster than methods for prevention. Some in the industry feel this is an issue, although if science can detect anomalies that reduce the burden on human health and safety, then we should embrace this innovation and adapt our prevention programs and methods accordingly.

Some technology firms suggest food safety, authenticity and food provenance can be guaranteed using software such as blockchains combined with security labelling and IOT devices, and there is a lot of merit in this approach. But it is impossible to guarantee a safe outcome without science.

honey is checked in the lab food fraud

In fact, the better the supply chain is mapped, and the more accurate and reliable the traceability information is, the easier it is to overlay it all with real integrity testing services that examine the integrity of claims for a product’s authenticity, and to verify claims of geographic provenance. There are a number of analytical tests available today and they range from simple to complex: hand held tests and sensor devices, provenance and authenticity markers, and blockchain and Internet of Things (IOT), all of which support consumers’ desire to know where their food is from and how it was produced. Testing can ascertain if a prawn is wild-caught or farm-raised, or determine where an egg was laid, right back to the shed or range on a farm.

There is no silver bullet to tackling the challenges we see in the food chain but when you combine analytical science-based outputs with other technologies, then we are closer to a more complete solution. It’s a good idea for a food company to conduct both a formal and informal review of their supply chain for threats and risks, and that they be clear about what they are looking to achieve before developing a solution.

Any improvements in global supply chain traceability and the ability to rapidly recall unsafe food should be applauded. After all, unsafe food is not food, and for many of us the next crisis is just a bite away.

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