Non-targeted screening for food chemical safety
A new member-funded research project will give members access to non-targeted analysis for 'unknown hazards' that gives more confidence in the safety of their food and drink products.
A key requirement for ensuring the safety of food is confidence in its origin and the integrity of its supply chain. A recent example which highlights this is the incident concerning the alleged contamination of spices and the presence of nut residues. This resulted in a costly recall to prevent the potentially fatal consequence of undeclared allergens in the products. The incident highlights the importance for companies to follow recommendations in the Elliot Report, one of which was continued surveillance in order to detect further fraud incidents at an early stage. This would provide protection for both food companies (who would otherwise lose brand integrity) and consumers. The requirements have been further reinforced by the inclusion in BRC Global Standard for Food Safety (Issue 7), of a need to risk assess and possibly test for the authenticity of raw materials. The problem facing many companies is that, to be effective in detecting fraudulent activity, a company needs to know what to look for in the material concerned, and use methods that will detect it.
This project will enable the development of applications for non-targeted screening, and statistical evaluation of data using advanced methods to detect 'unknown hazards'.