Ensuring the chemical safety of food and drink using non–targeted screening methods

Project team: Danielle Cawdron
Member funded research project
Running: January 2016 – December 2018
Project Number: 138056
Proposal documentation

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 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 the recommendations in the Elliot Report. One of the recommendations for food companies was continued surveillance in order to detect further fraud incidents at an early stage.

This would provide protection for both food companies (who would lose brand integrity) and consumers. The requirements have been further reinforced by the inclusion in BRCv7 of a need to risk assess and possibly test for 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. The project will enable the development of applications for non-targeted screening using a range of techniques.

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