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Authenticity testing for Cocoa Powder

brc authenticity testing

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#1 Anika

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 04:40 PM

Hi1

 

This question is regarding the authenticity section of BRC Issue 7. Can anyone tell me what sort of tests can be carried out for authenticity verification of Cocoa powder?

 

I've come across the following solutions:

 

fatty acid finger printing, NR, HPLC, ELSD, GC-FID, PCR

 

Has anyone done any tests so far and if so can you suggest a test?

 

Thank you

 

 


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#2 BrummyJim

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 09:20 AM

Are there any authentic standards for cocoa? I work in the juice industry and we have a definition of nearly every different fruit juice (and a few others) set by our trade association. It specifies a range of parameters including the amounts of the different sugars allowed, the acids (citric, ascorbic etc.) pH, SG and minerals. It makes it easy to determine whether a product has been adulterated.

 

There's also a newer approach which uses fingerprinting to differentiate between species and locations. I can ask whether an orange juice is from the north or south of Brazil for example.

 

Ask someone like Eurofins or Brucker for advice.


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#3 Anika

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 02:11 PM

Thank you Brummy Jim

 

Came across the following article and this has tests and procedures for determination of pH, fat content, moisture content and seive residue over a 200 U.S sieve size.

 

These tests would only validate the COA but not tell us whether the Cocoa itself has been adulterated though. I'll look into the labs you advised and get back.

 

I think finger printing could be a better test for origin testing.

 

We have other measures in place such as GFSI only for Cocoa powder but we wanted to take some extra measures for the Authenticity section of BRC7

 

Thank you


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#4 Anika

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 02:39 PM

http://www.adm.com/e...ocoa-Manual.pdf

 

I realized I forgot the attached the article  :oops2:


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#5 QAGB

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 04:11 PM

Thank you Brummy Jim

 

Came across the following article and this has tests and procedures for determination of pH, fat content, moisture content and seive residue over a 200 U.S sieve size.

 

These tests would only validate the COA but not tell us whether the Cocoa itself has been adulterated though. I'll look into the labs you advised and get back.

 

I think finger printing could be a better test for origin testing.

 

We have other measures in place such as GFSI only for Cocoa powder but we wanted to take some extra measures for the Authenticity section of BRC7

 

Thank you

 

 

Hi Anika,

 

We're struggling with this too. We're BRC Issue 7 certified, and there just aren't that many options yet in the food industry to do authenticity tests. Most of the labs I know aren't yet doing this. What you're referencing is exactly what I do for my food fraud analysis, and I get that information from the US Pharmacopoeia (looks like you do too). I have specifically called labs for this reason, and they aren't offering it right now. I think BRC has sort of "jumped the gun" so to speak, by putting this in place before labs can actually incorporate the analysis on a wide-scale basis. All of the information from the foodfraud site thus far has come from specialized research studies; it's not like an analysis for Free Fatty Acid or pH where the testing standards have been accepted and widely known.

 

It seems most auditors realize this, and understand the challenges we're facing. The best advice I can give you is to make sure you at least list all of the testing methods you mentioned into your hazard analysis, and make sure you have proof of calling labs to find out whether or not they offer such a test. At least, you have done as much as you can do on your end. If you can verify the COA by profile, for example, if natural cocoa powder exhibits a certain profile specific only to that cocoa powder, you can test it to find out if it is 100% cocoa powder and not adulterated. The problem is that in many instances, profile ranges are too broad to narrow anything down.

 

QAGB


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#6 Charles.C

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 06:49 PM

Hi Anika,

 

Of course, if there is zero historical evidence of Cocoa being "vulnerable", you will probably not be placed too heavily under the auditor microscope.

 

Is there any evidence ?


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Charles.C


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#7 QAGB

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 08:23 PM

Hi Anika,

 

Of course, if there is zero historical evidence of Cocoa being "vulnerable", you will probably not be placed too heavily under the auditor microscope.

 

Is there any evidence ?

 

There's actually a long list of replacement fraud for cocoa, especially the powder, dating back to 1986. The worst of the replacement being chestnut shells, peanut shells, and soybean related materials. In that instance, maybe an allergen test would work; but that only rules out 6 of the possible 15 replacement items found thus far. Therefore, I'd list cocoa as being a medium to possibly high risk of vulnerability.


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#8 Anika

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 08:43 PM

Hi Anika,

 

Of course, if there is zero historical evidence of Cocoa being "vulnerable", you will probably not be placed too heavily under the auditor microscope.

 

Is there any evidence ?

Hi Charles,

Yes, like QAGB posted, there are quite a few vulnerability found for Cooa according to the USP website such as replacement with arrowrrot, grain flour, chicory, carob, cocoa husks.

 

I used this website's help in creating a VACCP matrix and have so far only Cocoa as a medium(no high's thankfully).  :headhurts:


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#9 Anika

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 08:46 PM

There's actually a long list of replacement fraud for cocoa, especially the powder, dating back to 1986. The worst of the replacement being chestnut shells, peanut shells, and soybean related materials. In that instance, maybe an allergen test would work; but that only rules out 6 of the possible 15 replacement items found thus far. Therefore, I'd list cocoa as being a medium to possibly high risk of vulnerability.

Thanks QAGB. Maybe the allergen test could be one of the test we can show before our Issue 7 Audit.


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#10 Charles.C

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 09:42 PM

Hi Anika,

 

After a quick surf, as per previous posts, it is rather obvious that cocoa is quite a favorite topic for food fraud in recent traffic. I think this would guarantee close BRC interest if you were in Europe/UK. Not so sure in Canada.

 

I noticed this link which maybe has a quantitative crumb of comfort near the end -

 

At the time NCFPD conducted this assessment, we concluded the overall fraud vulnerability score for cocoa in the U.S. was medium-low. Fortunately, there have been no been publicly reported cases of fraud in cocoa products since the [Ebola] outbreak began. This is just one example of the complexity of factors that can affect the incentive and opportunity for fraud in the food products we eat.

 

https://foodprotecti...-ebola-outbreak

 

(BTW - this article also contains a quite interesting example of a response for most of the 5 core elements in BRC7 clause 5.4.2, although i found the implication that the product's positive historical fraud record reduced the food's vulnerability rather weird)


Edited by Charles.C, 15 January 2016 - 08:59 AM.
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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#11 QAGB

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 12:52 PM

Hi Anika,

 

After a quick surf, as per previous posts, it is rather obvious that cocoa is quite a favorite topic for food fraud in recent traffic. I think this would guarantee close BRC interest if you were in Europe/UK. Not so sure in Canada.

 

I noticed this link which maybe has a quantitative crumb of comfort near the end -

 

 

https://foodprotecti...-ebola-outbreak

 

(BTW - this article also contains a quite interesting example of a response for most of the 5 core elements in BRC7 clause 5.4.2, although i found the implication that the product's positive historical fraud record reduced the food's vulnerability rather weird)

 

 

I'm in agreement with Charles' statement about implying that the positive historical fraud reduced the food's vulnerability. I'd be more of the opinion that even though there hasn't been any record of fraud since the Ebola outbreak (which quite frankly wasn't all that long ago), the sheer ease of supply disruption would be concerning to me. The cocoa mostly comes from one region, and if something happens in that region, we'd be more susceptible to adulterated product. Also, looking purely at the replacement items, any replacement with an allergenic item in cocoa could be devastating. So being that the last recorded food fraud for cocoa was in 2012 (barely 4 years ago), i'd be inclined to at least consider it a medium risk. However, everyone's risk assessing is different.

 

The bottom line with this: you should create a justification chart that explains what you consider a low risk item, what you consider a medium risk item, and what you consider a high risk item by looking at likelihood and severity. This justification can be the same as your typical hazard risk assessment, but I think this particular justification chart should be assessed differently being that there are so many challenges (and this being sort of a new type of risk being added to BRC). An auditor is less likely to find a non-conformance or question you if you justify what you consider to be reasonable risk.


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#12 Anika

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 05:26 PM

Just an update, I've contacted several labs and deduced, fatty acid profiling or finger printing through NIR would be my best bet for now until there are approved and tested methods established. So I've contacted SGS, Silliker and GFTC(in Canada) to see if they offer tests like that. Silliker I know does, for nutritional labeling. I'll update when I receive any replies back from them.


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