No Lessons Learnt From Horsemeat?

Demand for food authenticity testing increases amid reports of food fraud and mislabelling.

Recent testing commissioned by West Yorkshire Councils highlighted an alarming number of instances of mislabelled food products, and this week has seen further reports of more than 1200 tonnes of fake food seized as part of an Interpol-Europol investigation.

The Europol Operation Opson III is reported to have highlighted supply chain issues, mislabelling and deliberate fraud on a large scale, surrounding products ranging from fish and seafood to oil and vinegar. Meanwhile in the UK specifically, over one third of the foodstuffs tested in West Yorkshire were misleadingly labelled, with issues ranging from illegal additives to the use on pizzas of “cheese analogue” – which is made with vegetable oil rather than dairy fat.

Of particular concern, given last year’s horsemeat scandal, was how often cheaper meats were found being passed off as more expensive products: poultry labelled as ham, pork as beef, and beef as ham. This comes as the EU plans for a second round of testing for horsemeat.

These findings highlight the importance for food manufacturers of a regular testing programme to ensure the authenticity of their ingredients and reliability of the supply chain. RSSL is experiencing increased demand for testing of ingredients that are vulnerable to substitution/adulteration – in particular, the authentication of fish, speciality oils and meat.

As a multi-disciplinary laboratory with many years’ experience in product and ingredient authentication, RSSL can support manufacturers, suppliers and retailers in maintaining the integrity, quality and safety of products.

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