One of the 'gaps' in our knowledge about food fraud in manufacturing is we have only small amounts of specific information from food manufacturers on what type of detection and prevention methods they are currently using to protect themselves from purchasing/using fraudulent raw materials. So for example, how many food manufacturers are doing in-house testing, or external testing for authenticity of incoming materials? How many are relying solely on their purchasing specifications, that type of thing. A research topic that provides some kind of insight on those questions within the food manufacturing sector would be very useful; perhaps some kind of survey? If you are representing an educational institution you might have more luck than those of us in the private sector at getting this information from food manufacturers.
Another gap in our knowledge is in the application and uptake of all the wonderful new analytical tests that have been developed for authenticity testing. There are lots of new methods which have been published in peer reviewed journals but not a lot of information about which have been successfully commercialised and are actually being used in a real world food manufacturing scenario. I'm thinking particularly of the non-targetted test methods which require a large and expensive database before they can be used successfully. Are there barriers to the application of these methods from issues around the IP (intellectual property rights) of the database? Are these test methods profitable for the laboratories to perform on a one-off or small jobs basis? Is the cost of testing impacting on the ability of food manufacturers to use the best authenticity test methods? Is there anything that governments or industry bodies could do to improve the accessibility of the new technologies?
Any research paper you could put together that addresses any of those questions will be hugely valuable to the food manufacturing industry.
Let us know how you go with it.
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