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food fraud database

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#1 jdudka

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 06:10 PM

Hey all,

 

I've been looking at the issue of food fraud for quite a while now, reading up on instances of it being caught from examples of blatant adulteration, to processing in terrible environments, to labeling food with brand name labels to false organic/kosher/halal claims. As unfortunate as it is, there sure are no shortage of examples of food fraud out there. The biggest challenge I've found (other than easy, inexpensive and accurate detection of fraud or adulteration) is being able to monitor for recent and relevant events as they occur. On a variety of other threads I've seen people mention a few places to look, but I thought perhaps if there was a centralized post for databases and news sites that report food fraud, it could be quite useful for IFSQN members, as some companies will be able to buy in to a project like the USP's database (a $1200/year subscription) whereas other smaller companies like mine may need to find a different method.

 

In terms of databases, I know of the USP's food fraud database with a subscription fee. I've recently discovered HorizonScan by a company Fera Sciences that also requires a subscription, not sure how much, but it looks like it could be quite useful. There is the RASFF portal that has a bunch of interesting info from a bunch of Euro countries. I just came across another database that is under development in the EU called FARNHub (Food Authenticity Research Network Hub) that sounds decent and it should be online in 2018.

 

In terms of news sites I know that there are waaaay more of these. I had just recently discovered Trello and it seems quite neat, very concise and informative and seems to pull from a wide number of sources. There are also the OPSON reports, done by the Operation OPSON VI (in 2016-17), an originally EU and now international effort to combat food fraud (I think you have to pay to see the actual reports). 

 

 


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#2 GMO

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 11:06 AM

Thank you so much!  I'm suspicious of any site charging for access.  I also find the fees really benefit the big producers but small to medium sized companies get thoroughly stuffed so anything which is free I'm right happy with.


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#3 Charles.C

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 06:29 AM

Hi jdudka,

 

Based on yr above comments and various other threads on this forum, I think that no free, wide-scoped databases have yet been referenced here. USP was likely the sole exception until it went commercial (although afaik it offers a short free trial period).


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#4 jdudka

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 10:27 PM

Thank you so much!  I'm suspicious of any site charging for access.  I also find the fees really benefit the big producers but small to medium sized companies get thoroughly stuffed so anything which is free I'm right happy with.

 

Unfortunately someone's got to pay for the info... I think the fees benefit a company that will put it to full use. I don't see myself looking at the database every single day. Maybe once a month? So for USP that means it costs $100/month to look at the database. That's a bit steep... 

 

 

Hi jdudka,

 

Based on yr above comments and various other threads on this forum, I think that no free, wide-scoped databases have yet been referenced here. USP was likely the sole exception until it went commercial (although afaik it offers a short free trial period).

 

I don't anticipate there ever really will be a free AND comprehensive database because people need to get paid. USP does have a trial period... I'm trying to get in to it again. I got in several months back but got busy and literally didn't look at it once. Hopefully they'll let me peek... I also want to try the HorizonScan as it has a two week trial and looks like it has potential to be decent.


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#5 Charles.C

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 12:29 AM

Unfortunately someone's got to pay for the info... I think the fees benefit a company that will put it to full use. I don't see myself looking at the database every single day. Maybe once a month? So for USP that means it costs $100/month to look at the database. That's a bit steep... 

 

 

 

I don't anticipate there ever really will be a free AND comprehensive database because people need to get paid. USP does have a trial period... I'm trying to get in to it again. I got in several months back but got busy and literally didn't look at it once. Hopefully they'll let me peek... I also want to try the HorizonScan as it has a two week trial and looks like it has potential to be decent.

 

Actually one (or two)  genuinely free databases hv been linked here but they seemed too limited to be of general use when i played with them.

Perhaps a good argument for a non-zero QA budget.


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Charles.C


#6 Timwoodbag

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 03:15 PM

QA Budget of zero over here.  I am lucky as we only produce one food type BUT between Trello and performing oddly specific google searches, you should be able to compile a nice stack of paper to show an auditor and to prove that you have done the research, found relevant information, and analyzed your risks.  


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#7 GMO

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 12:42 PM

Unfortunately someone's got to pay for the info...

 

I disagree or at least I disagree it should be manufacturers.  If you think about it, a lot of the information on these databases is already collated, free of charge by national governments.  I've not found one yet that gave me a lot more than RASFF.  Sure, some of them share anonymised results but if there is an issue in a product category then you're more likely to then test yourself in any case. 

 

I looked into some systems in the UK and all were far too expensive for my needs.  In the category I work in, there are one or two ingredients which are higher risk but they're tested to death.  I still do a bit of ad hoc testing in response to alerts I've seen in RASFF and the media but nothing excessive and nothing of the order of £100 a month or £1000-2000 p.a. which is not unheard of. 

 

The fact is recall and incident info, IMO should be free and easy to access and in the most case is.  Info on ingredient availability and increasing costs should be known in your business through your purchasing team.  Anything else and it's hit and miss on whether these systems will have the info anyway in my experience. 

 

Food fraud has and always will exist.  Where the next one is coming from is always hard to know.  Some of the best intel I've had is from my personal network of friends so don't discount old school methodology.  Also test for "known" issues are almost always going to pass.  As soon as a test exists for something and it's affordable, a fraudster would have to be stupid to attempt it (hey, some have but it's rare).  What the real challenge is, is to predict and be able to test for the unknown and that's where monitoring prices and markets come in.  My background is chemistry and there are methods out there, IR, NMR etc to get baseline "typical" results for ingredients.  If I was going to spend a lot of money on authenticity, that is where I'd spend it, getting "typical" results for expensive ingredients which look like they are likely to harden in price over the coming year.  Of course once you get an "atypical" result, it may take some time to work out why and whether it's adulteration or not but I suspect those methods, and good old fashioned policing, will expose the next major scandal not doing the 20th test for sudan dyes on some chilli powder.
 


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