Honey Scandal Continues to Grow

As reported by this newsletter in December 2014, Australia’s consumer watchdog, the ACCC, fined two companies for selling “Turkish Sugar Syrup” labelled as honey.. The official test in Australia to check if honey is pure is called the “C4 sugar test.” Plants have different ways of producing sugars, using different chemical pathways depending on the plant and the conditions in which it is grown. Bees collect nectar mostly from flowers of plants in the “C3 cycle”, and much less from plants using C4 pathways to make sugars. The C4 test picks up most fake honey, because most of the cheap sugar syrups used to make fake honey came from C4 plants, like corn and sugar cane. But newer substitutes, like rice, wheat, and beet syrups, come from C3 plants, and so won’t be picked up. The fake honey in this most recent scandal was identified by a method called “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance” (NMR for short). which measures how the nuclei in the sample respond to different magnetic fields, it providing a fingerprint of what is in the sample. This means it isn’t restricted to just testing for C4 sugars, and it can detect non-honey sugars from any source. This is why some honeys may pass the standard test, but not pass an NMR test.   Sources: What is Fake Honey and Why Didn’t the Official Tests Pick it Up?   Emma Beckett, The Conversation Honey testing ;   Department of Agriculture Responds to Honey Furore   Govt. honey testing ;   Fake Honey Imports Could Lead to a Humanitarian Disaster   Robert Costa, SMH Honey disaster;   Honey…how to Shrink the Frauds? Australian Experts Respond to 'Adulterated' Product Claims Gary Scattergodd, Food Navigator-Asia 'Funny' honey

Food Fraud Affects Many Supermarket Staples, so how do you Choose the Good Stuff?

Food fraud is essentially the sale of an inferior product represented as a more valuable one. This could be through substitution, dilution, tampering, or misrepresentation of food, ingredients or packaging. Because it is designed to be undetected, it is difficult to know the true reach of food fraud, but the potential profits and complexities of the modern food supply chain mean it is likely becoming more common. The substitutes aren't always harmful but, they may have different nutrient profiles and biological properties to the original product. Often, it would be completely legal to add these products to food, provided they were labelled correctly.    Source: Emma Beckett, ABC Food frauds

Australian (NSW) Food Authority RecallsSource: Current recalls

Glendenning Farms eggs: due to potential microbial (Salmonella) contamination.

Rhuby Delights and Rhuby Creations Chocolate Products: due to an undeclared allergen (dairy).

G J Wholesale Alcohol Products: due to potential chemical contamination

YouFoodz Clean Paprika Chicken: due to the presence of undeclared allergens (fish, gluten, egg, milk)

Mahroum Sesame Halva: due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (pistachio nut)

Schweppes Lemonade 1.1 litre: due to an incorrect label (Schweppes Lemonade Zero Sugar) being applied to the rear of the bottle.

Fresh Stawberry Contamination

The NSW Police Force is warning the community following reports of contaminated strawberries. On 12 September 2018, Queensland Police Service announced an investigation into the contamination, which appears to have originated at a Queensland-based supplier. The contamination relates to what appears to be sewing needles and pins inserted in strawberries. Police are urging anyone who has purchased contaminated product to take the punnet to their local police station immediately for triage and forensic examination. Any customer who has purchased strawberries is urged to cut the fruit before consuming.   Source:  Strawberry contamination

(Beaking News:  As the ‘Strawberry Crisis’ escalates with multiple copy-cat incidents, sewing needles get removed from supermarket shelves: SMH Supermarket strawberry reaction;, QLD Health update 6)

Compendium of Microbiological Criteria for Food September 2018

Food Standards Australia New Zealand have recently published a comprehensive guide to the whys and hows of food testing. Microbiological criteria are established to support decision making about a food or process based on microbiological testing. Criteria can be developed and applied for different purposes across the food supply chain, with different consequences if the limits are not met. An important principle is that a microbiological criterion is established at a specified point in the food chain for a particular purpose. In general, this is to establish the safety of a food or to verify that the food safety control system or elements of it are working as intended.     Source: © Food Standards Australia New Zealand Food compendium

FSANZ Notifications—

Application A1137 – Polysorbate 20 as a Food Additive: The purpose of the Application is to permit the use of polysorbate 20 as an emulsifier.   Source:  Polysorbate 20

Application A1170 – Rebaudioside MD as a Steviol Glycoside from Saccharomyces cerevisiae: The purpose of the Application is to seek approval for a steviol glycoside mixture (Reb MD) for use as an intense sweetener, produced from a genetically modified Saccharomyces cerevisiae.   Source: Steviol glycoside

Proposal P1046 – L-amino acid acetate in Food for Special Medical Purposes: This proposal has removed a negative impact on trade by enabling the sale of food for special medical purposes (FSMP) containing L-arginine acetate.   Source: L amino acid

Proposal P1048 – Code revision 2018: The purpose of the Proposal is to make minor amendments including the correction of typographical errors, inconsistencies and formatting issues and updating of references.   Source: Code rvision 2018

Why the FDA is Updating What “Healthy” on a Food Label Means

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced new steps to advance health through improvements in nutrition. Modernising labels to make them simpler and understandable by implementing a new Nutrition Facts label – an item that hadn’t been refreshed in more than 20 years – reflect recent scientific developments as part of an initiative designed to empower consumers to choose healthful diets. Today, almost 40 percent of U.S. adults are obese and poor nutrition plays a part in this epidemic.    Source: Randall Popelka, Herbalife FDA food label

Portal for all Things Food Related

BiaBiz is a comprehensive directory of free technical knowledge & trainings for food producers, entrepreneurs, scientists, technologists & advisers. This useful aggregator is a handy go-to site when you are searching for global food facts and resources including a link to RFA’s popular vitamin converter.       Source: BiaBiz

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