What are the scientific challenges in moving from targeted to non-targeted methods for food fraud testing and how can they be addressed? – Spectroscopy case study

Terry F. McGrath*, Simon A. Haughey, Jenny Patterson, Carsten Fauhl-Hassek, James Donarski, Martin Alewijn, Saskia van Ruth, Christopher T. Elliott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The authenticity of foodstuffs and associated fraud has become an important area. It is estimated that global food fraud costs approximately $US49b annually. In relation to testing for this malpractice, analytical technologies exist to detect fraud but are usually expensive and lab based. However, recently there has been a move towards non-targeted methods as means for detecting food fraud but the question arises if these techniques will ever be accepted as routine. Scope and approach: In this opinion paper, many aspects relating to the role of non-targeted spectroscopy based methods for food fraud detection are considered: (i) a review of the current non-targeted spectroscopic methods to include the general differences with targeted techniques; (ii) overview of in-house validation procedures including samples, data processing and chemometric techniques with a view to recommending a harmonized procedure; (iii) quality assessments including QC samples, ring trials and reference materials; (iv) use of “big data” including recording, validation, sharing and joint usage of databases. Key findings and conclusions: In order to keep pace with those who perpetrate food fraud there is clearly a need for robust and reliable non-targeted methods that are available to many stakeholders. Key challenges faced by the research and routine testing communities include: a lack of guidelines and legislation governing both the development and validation of non-targeted methodologies, no common definition of terms, difficulty in obtaining authentic samples with full traceability for model building; the lack of a single chemometric modelling software that offers all the algorithms required by developers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-55
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Volume76
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • Chemometric model
  • Food authenticity
  • Harmonisation
  • Non-targeted
  • Scientific opinion
  • Spectroscopy

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