Food authenticity assessment: ensuring compliance with food legislation and traceability requirements

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Abstract

Introduction

The globalisation of food markets implies that consumers come into contact with a great variety of foods, therefore European and worldwide consumers are very concerned about the origin of the food they eat. Moreover, recent food scares have added to public sensitivity regarding the origin of food and its authenticity. The objective assessment of food authenticity has thus become of paramount importance.

Methods

The MoniQA Network of Excellence has set up a working group on food authenticity which gathers experts from different backgrounds to address this topic, to identify any gaps and needs, and to offer legislators, control authorities and all interested parties objective, validated and harmonised means to measure food authenticity attributes.

Results and conclusions

In this paper, an overview of all the work done by the Food Authenticity working group during the first year of the activities of the NoE is presented. It has emerged that there are already rapid chemical and biochemical techniques that, when combined with statistical treatment of the data, have shown a degree of success. However, some basic problems remain, which need to be addressed for the successful determination of food authenticity such as sampling, method performance and uncertainty. The MoniQA Food Authenticity Working Group is working at the development of methods to authenticate foods taking into account the need of robust markers, rapid and reliable validated methods, appropriate statistical treatment of analytical data, as well as comprehensive and up-to-date databases of authenticity markers.

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