• 18 Nov
    Fighting Food Fraud with SGF International e.V.

    Fighting Food Fraud with SGF International e.V.

    What is Food Fraud?

    According to Spink and Moyer “Food fraud is a collective term used to encompass the deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, tampering, or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients, or food packaging; or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain.”.

    Therefore, it is necessary to differentiate between unintentional and intentional scenarios in food safety management: Unintentional scenarios represented by the “classical” hazards are being controlled via HACCP systems since many years. Intentional scenarios may result from ideological motivations – here we are talking about threats that are managed in Food Defence programs.

    Regulatory Requirements and Food Safety Management Standards

    Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council names in its general objectives beneath the high level of protection of human life, health and the consumers’ interests the safeguarding of fair practices in food trade along the supply chain. Furthermore, the legislators refer to international food safety management standards: where these standards exist or their completion is imminent, they shall be taken into consideration in the development or adaption of food law.

    By this, food safety management standards, especially GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) recognised standards, represent state-of-the-art and useful approaches for food business operators to ease their fulfilment of due diligence. Within the GFSI-framework the FSSC 22000, IFS Food, BRC and SQF constitute the most important ones. All of them rest upon the principles of HACCP, Food Safety Management Requirements and Good Industry Sector Practice Requirements and the most recent GFSI clauses contain the topic “Food Fraud”. Together with HACCP and Food Defence Systems it is necessary for food business operators to establish a VACCP System (Vulnerability Assessment of Critical Control Points) to mitigate and minimise risks from identified food fraud vulnerabilities.

    Food Fraud in the Juice Sector – Literature and SGF/IRMA’s Experience in 2017

    Periodically together with other foodstuffs (e.g. honey and olive oil) fruit juices rank in the top 10 of economically motivated adulteration of food. In 2014 Johnson reported fraudulent activities like water addition, cutting down expensive juices with cheaper ones or addition of sugars.

    As far as the authenticity of semi-finished fruit juice products is concerned, we could find only 2% of the analysed samples from 2017’s audits at SGF/IRMA members being in the atmosphere of food fraud (substitution, addition, tampering, misrepresentation and misleading statements).

    Noteworthy observations in 2017 were especially the addition of foreign fruits, the addition of sugar, the addition of citric acid, the addition of water and detectable contents of sulphur dioxide in organic grape juices / juice concentrates.

    Even if this low percentage sounds like negligible impacts for our sector – being concerned with such fraud could cause serious, especially as consumer organisations and media are very aware of the topic food fraud. Nevertheless, a high-level market transparency in raw material and intermediates production is proven by these results from our control work and demonstrate the high addiction of SGF certified companies to authenticity, quality and safety.

    How to protect yourself against Food Fraud with SGF International e.V.?

    Successful strategies for our industry are necessary to meet these challenges and to avoid scandals and bad news for the fruit juice business. Therefore, a holistic view in raw material procurement is necessary and the VACCP team should be composed of representatives of the departments being involved in all key processes from raw material purchase to the release of the final product.

    Risky raw materials could be described as being expensive, rarely available and analytically insufficient described. A further factor contributing to risky purchases lies in the chemical composition of fruit juices / juice concentrates and their wide variation (geographical and/or harvest-specific characteristics). Nevertheless, putting every fruit juice or every supplier under general suspicion is not only unfair, but also very expensive considering analytical and/or audit costs.

    To reduce quality costs a suitable approach to (self-) protection from food fraud consists in active participation in the Voluntary Control System, as well as making use of the services for members offered by SGF. In the meantime, these added values have been acknowledged by FSSC 22000: “supplier certification (forward and backward) by sector specific control systems which are specialized to prevent or mitigate food fraud can substitute own analytical routine screening. An example is supplier certification via a voluntary certification scheme in the sector of fruit and vegetable juices and purees⁴.” The footnote directly refers to the Voluntary Control System of SGF.

    There is more to active participation in the Voluntary Control System than just a successful audit and unobjectionable analyses of the samples taken during the audit. Following the continuous process suggested by U.S. Pharmacopeia, SGF services may support especially the pre-screening, vulnerability assessment and the development of the preventive control plan:

    • The Pre-Screening describes the process of collecting all purchased raw materials and intermediates and the identification of potential risks. SGF’s Business Reports, bi-monthly News and Early Warnings keep our member companies regularly informed about quality deviations in semi-finished and consumer goods – valuable information to support member companies in possible adjustments of sampling schedules and analytical scopes.
    • In the Vulnerability Assessment the differentiation between controllable and uncontrollable factors is key. Controllable and safeguarded factors are e.g. the supply chain, audit strategies or the susceptibility of quality assurance methods. These factors are supported by SGF Audits along the supply chain from tree to bottle, by SGF’s analyses randomly applied on samples taken during our audits.
    • The Preventive Control Plan is key to get on track at risky raw materials. With the help of risk-oriented and susceptible analytical scopes based on SGF’s experience, possible damages of food fraud are mitigated. Evaluation of analytical results may be supported by the use of SGF’s Database of Authentic Samples and SGF’s Technical Hotline.

    About SGF International e.V. and the Voluntary Control System

    The SGF history is characterised by the fact that already in the 1970s, the sector image was in jeopardy from product adulterations and unfair competition. As a result, the “Schutzgemeinschaft”, an association to protect the fruit juice industry, was then set up as an instrument of industrial self-control in order to restore clean, fair market conditions and connecting quality-conscious players in the global juice industry.

    For more than 40 years now, SGF International e.V. has played an active role when it comes to combatting food fraud, developing effective strategies in order to help the individual member with self-protection measures, protect the branch image and particularly promote fair competition. SGF is therefore the only system in the world to combine independent system and product controls, taking consistent measures to prevent the recurrence of non-conformities, even including court action if necessary.

    The control system that permits the traceability of a juice “from the tree to the bottle” is based on voluntary participants who open the doors of their semi- and finished goods facilities for the SGF auditors and allow samples to be taken of the semi- or finished goods from on-going production and from the warehouse for corresponding testing, together with hygiene audits of the plant facilities.

    The “complete control chain”, from processing the fruit through to the finished product can provide verification of perfect quality within next-to-no time, even if natural changes resulting from origin, growth or variety characteristics cause deviations from normal expectations. At the same time, it is easy to detect, localise and prove illicit product manipulation. Any infringements against the food regulations or against the rules of the system trigger corrective action by the SGF with corresponding follow-up inspections.

    Literature cited

    [1] Spink, J., and Moyer, DC.,2011. Defining the Public Health Threat of Food Fraud. Journal of Food Science, 2011, Volume 75 (Number 9), p. 57-63.).

     

    [2] Global Food Safety Initiative, 2014. GFSI Position on Mitigating Public Health Risk of Food Fraud

     

    [3] Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety

     

    [4] Global Food Safety Initiative, 2017.GFSI Benchmarking Requirements. GFSI Guidance Document Version 7.2

     

    [5] Moore, J., Spink, J., and Lipkus, M., 2012. Development and Application of a Database of Food Ingredient Fraud and Economically Motivated Adulteration from 1980 to 2010. Journal of Food Science, Volume 77 (Number 4), p. R118-R126.

     

    [6] Johnson, R., 2014. Food Fraud and “Economically Motivated Adulteration” of Food and Food Ingredients. report, January 10, 2014; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276904/: accessed November 9, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.

     

    [7] SGF International e. V. Sure-Global-Fair (SGF), 2018. Business Report 2017 (https://www.sgf.org/fileadmin/user_upload/public_download/Downloads_english/Business%20Reports/Business_Report_2017.pdf)
    [8] FSSC 22000, 2018. Guidance on Food Fraud Mitigation. Version 1, Number 2171848

     

    [9] U.S. Pharmacopeia Appendix XVII: Food Fraud Mitigation Guidance

     

     

    By Caroline Whibley Features
  • 18 Nov
    Cruzani acquire vitamin-infused water company

    Cruzani acquire vitamin-infused water company

    Cruzani will be entering the functional beverage market with the acquisition of a popular vitamin enhanced water beverage. This will be the 1st stage of their entry into the infused products market. The company is also exploring the feasibility of adding a reformulated version of the current beverage line, to include infused CBD which could be launched into various jurisdictions that require non-psychoactive CBD permitting and licensing to legally do so. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the part of the cannabis plant that doesn’t get you ‘high’ like the THC side of the plant. It is typically used for health reasons instead of for recreational purposes. The CBD products are either derived from industrial hemp plants or marijuana plants. Hemp-derived CBD is currently legal in 46 states in the US and The Hemp Business Journal has estimated hemp and CBD food, beverage, and cosmetics will grow to a $1.8 billion market by 2020.

    globalnewswire

    By Caroline Whibley News
  • 18 Nov
    New technology reduces 87% of sugars from fruit juice

    New technology reduces 87% of sugars from fruit juice

    As the globe marks World Diabetes Day, the founder of a juice company claims he has found a successful way to remove 87% of sugar from fruit juice.

    Eran Blachinsky, founder and CEO of Better Juice, has come up with innovative technology that provides new options for people wanting to drink healthier beverages.

    In the current food environment, it is very easy for consumers to take in too much sugar, especially from sugary drinks. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the over-consumption of sugar is a major contributor to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

    WHO guidelines recommend that, to prevent obesity and tooth decay, adults and children should reduce their consumption of free sugars to less than 10% of their daily energy intake (equivalent to around 12 teaspoons of table sugar for adults). The guidelines further suggest reducing sugar intake to below six teaspoons of table sugar for adults for additional health benefits.

    In curbing the sugar intake and fighting diabetes and other related diseases caused by sugary drinks and juices, food-tech start-up company Better Juice has developed a way to reduce sugar in naturally occurring products like fruit juice.

    Health-E News

    By Caroline Whibley News
  • 14 Nov
    Juice Summit: fresh ideas on tap

    Juice Summit: fresh ideas on tap

    This year’s Juice Summit in Antwerp was another great success for the organisers, reports Caroline Whibley

    In a packed programme the AIJN, together with its partners the IFU and SGF, produced an outstanding agenda that managed to cover a very wide variety of issues and challenges for the future of the fruit juice industry.

    Challenges it seems are many, perhaps never before has the food & drink industry so much change and uncertainty. Roll back 50 years or so and a marketer’s biggest problem would be how to introduce new brands, how to get people to switch – a tough challenge. Today however we seem to be hopping about all over the place – achieving long term ‘brand loyalty’ with something new is to be dreamed about.

    So much of the talk in the crowd was about steps to reduce sugar, ‘mindful choices’ just one of the many phrases, ‘putting a fresh spin’ on everything and how to deliver ‘novel experiences’ – what happened to producing fruit juice hey!?

    Slavery-free-products were talked about across the fruit juice industry with some surprising facts that needed more time and new non-thermal tech in the processing sector with ultra-rapid processing key to speeding up the fruit-to-product process with new microbiological breakthroughs.

    Speakers and panellists at the Summit went on to share their vision in a number of stimulating sessions over a two-day programme including: Dynamics of the Global Fruit Juice Market, Trends & Challenges for the Agro-Food & Fruit Juice Industry, The Juice Supply Chain – Outlook & Challenges, Tapping into the Mind of the Consumer, and various regional market updates.

    “92% of 18-35 year olds

    are now consuming

    snacks instead of meals”

    What are the global trends and where are the emerging markets? What are the challenges?  Crop disease, disastrous weather patterns, political manoeverings, China, and of course Brexit. If only we had a crystal ball on that one.  I’m hoping, that Brexit becomes like the millennium bug we all worried about and we just move forward in a rational manner and continue doing what we do best with no disasters. But I think I am a glass is half full person . . .

    ‘Snackification’ was a term Welch’s used which stood out for me, referring to a study that stated that 92% of 18-35 year olds are now consuming snacks instead of meals. We have seen a 25% increase in fruit & vegetable snack launches from 2012-16. They also commented that words like ‘healthfulness’ resonated with customers when making their purchasing choices.

    It does seem sort of ironic that the ‘healthfulness’ marketing might be getting through, i.e. consumer thinks they have done something healthy because they have been told the product is healthy for them . . . but are they actually being healthy if they rely on ‘snacking’ for sustenance? I don’t know? Breakfast, lunch and dinner is looking to be on the way out as a timetable for eating and drinking with young people, I’m just wondering what the long term effect will be.

    Tetrapak also refer to consumers increasingly looking for an easy shopping experience, and the effect of the growth of online retail. Packaging it seems needs to be able to survive in an e-commerce world, as new digital printing code-based consumer ‘engagement’ solutions were discussed.

    I thought the Nova School of Business Economics presentation by Jao Castro was ‘novel’ in itself, with the use of ‘Economist’ magazine cover statements to illustrate his point. Changing consumer behaviour he’s noting is something that worries marketers who would like to put people into their little boxes and keep them there, but change also provides an opportunity, the very fact that consumers ‘bring on’ change far more easily than they used to decades ago, shows that we are increasingly becoming receptive to new ideas and new thinking and this can only provide opportunities. Moreover it provides opportunities for new companies and start-ups too who would previously found too many barriers to launch. Online marketing, social media marketing are perfect for ‘guerrilla brands’ to sneak in and gain an audience.

    The Juice Summit is organized by and for the industry, which makes it a unique experience in this field. Thanks to its success over the last six events, the Juice Summit is now a global, annual conference which guarantees the presence of renowned industry experts who are active on both the European and international juice scene.

    For more information regarding the speakers and programme e: charlotte.meuwis@aijn.org

     

    By Caroline Whibley Features
  • 14 Nov
    Are oranges the new superfruit?

    Are oranges the new superfruit?

    They help prevent ‘cancer, heart disease, dementia and wrinkles’ reported The Sun newspaper. Vitamin C can do just about anything, the paper reported, from slowing down ageing to protecting against high blood pressure. It turns out that citrus fruits – oranges, lemons, grapefruits – might be even better for us than most. According to nutritionists Dr Sarah Brewer and Juliette Kellow, citrus fruits are the key to stay young and living long.

    In their book, “Eat Better, Live Longer: Understand What Your Body Needs to Stay Healthy”, they recommend eating at least one orange, grapefruit, lemon or lime a day.

    Dr Brewer told The Sun: “Citrus fruits contain antioxidant polyphenols and vitamin C which protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.

    “Vitamin C helps to lower cholesterol levels by promoting the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids. Antioxidants in general also lower cholesterol by protecting circulating LDL (bad cholesterol) particles from oxidation so they return to the liver for recycling rather than contributing to furring up of the arteries.” (UK)

    By Caroline Whibley News
  • 14 Nov
    Potential breakthrough could help fight against citrus greening

    Potential breakthrough could help fight against citrus greening

    As citrus greening continues to devastate Florida’s citrus crop, researchers think they’ve discovered a way to gain new insights into the disease which could help the industry finally defeat it.

    Citrus greening disease has destroyed millions of acres of citrus plants around the world. It is spread by a disease-infected insect, the Asian citrus psyllid, and has put the future of citrus at risk.

    So far, researchers have been unable to isolate the bacteria that causes greening; to study the disease researchers have been forced to grow trees, then study their roots. But now, Texas A&M AgriLife Research is reporting promise in rapidly culturing and reproducing the pathogens and microbes that cause the disease in the laboratory.

    The breakthrough, announced by US Sugar subsidiary Southern Gardens Citrus last month could be a game-changer, industry officials said. While it doesn’t cure the disease in and of itself, the research could allow the industry to “more efficiently and cost effectively find a workable defense against fastidious pathogens and microbes like citrus greening,” according to a Southern Gardens Citrus media release. Florida has lost more than 60% of its production since the 2003-04 growing season.

    USAtoday

    By Caroline Whibley News