Food fraud has garnered a good deal of industry, consumer, and government attention in the past few weeks. Recent focus on the European horsemeat scandal and the mislabeling of seafood in the United States has left many with a sense of doubt, from the farm to the table.
As stakeholders in the food industry, companies of many varieties are looking a bit closer now at all ingredients and products coming into their respective operations. Due to this growing concern, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) has also recently garnered a great deal of attention. The USP, for those not familiar, is: "is a scientific nonprofit organization that sets standards for the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide."
Their site features a "Food Fraud Database" that was created to act, "as a repository for food ingredient fraud reports and associated analytical detection methods." The database features an easy-to-use search function that can search for adulterants and specific ingredients. USP describes that the database is of use to many levels of food-industry interest, including: "parties responsible for assessing existing and emerging risks and trends for economically motivated adulteration, authenticity, fraud, or counterfeiting issues for food ingredients.
Beyond listing food fraud adulterants, the database provides a baseline understanding of the susceptibility or vulnerability of individual ingredients to fraud. In addition, it can be useful for those managing the risk of food fraud by providing a library of detection methods reported in peer-reviewed scientific journals. You can learn more about the USP by clicking on any of the links above. Click here to access the database.