• Lead or be Led: Your Opportunity to Participate in Food Fraud Standards

    by John Spink • August 14, 2013 • Blog • 0 Comments

    USP presentation slideDon’t let others dictate how the marketplace or the world should be run.  Get involved or accept the direction set by others.  Food Fraud policy and practice is being defined before our eyes.  Now is the time to get involved and make your mark.  Join me at the September 26-27 US Pharmacopeia Economically Motivated Adulteration of Food Ingredients and Dietary Supplements Workshop.  I will be presenting our latest work on Food Fraud Prevention and our new article on Defining the Public Health Threat of Dietary Supplement Fraud (more to follow on that in a future blog post).

    For those of you who don’t know, U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established back in 1820.  It originally served the US Government to establish the standards for identifying the quality of products, including test methods and representative reference samples.  In many countries the USP standard is the regulation for the entire country.  “USP’s drug standards are enforceable in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration, and these standards are developed and relied upon in more than 140 countries.” 
    The activities of USP are supported – really led — by almost 1,000 volunteer experts who give their time to help lead the management and development of  the activities.  Beyond food, USP manages medicines, dietary supplements and herbal remedies.

    The impact of USP expanded when they took over the Food Chemicals Codex in 2006.  This new area has grown to cover more than 1,100 food ingredients.

    I was recruited by USP and currently serve on three expert panels related to intentional adulteration for economic gain and product fraud, including:

    • Food Ingredients:  Expert Panel (EP), Food Fraud Ingredient Intentional Adulteration
      In 2010, I was asked to join the EP due to my previous research and publications on Food Fraud.  A major accomplishment of our EP was to establish a Food Fraud Database that has been updated on a regular basis.  The database is accessible at www.FoodFraud.org.  Another significant accomplishment was the publication of this research in a scholarly journal (see Moore, Spink & Lipp, 2012). 
    • Drugs:  Expert Panel, Povidone Adulteration
      In December 2011, the EP was created when US FDA asked USP to update the Povidones standard (monograph) specifically in response to the Povidones Adulteration vulnerability.  Povidones are materials used in eye drops and products such as povidone-iodine which is known by the brand name Betadine.  US FDA identified Povidones as a product that was vulnerable to adulteration with melamine. 
    • Dietary Supplements:  Expert Panel, Intentional Adulteration of Dietary Supplements with Drugs
      In April 2013, the EP was created to develop screening methods for drugs as adulterants for dietary supplements.  For example, there are incidents where a “dietary supplement” is intentionally adulterated with a drug active ingredient to create the intended effect.

    Beyond the USP’s work of creating and maintaining the quality standards of products, they have a mission to conduct outreach, including education and workshops.  I’ve presented at several and always find them interesting and valuable.  It’s amazing to hear what’s going on in the world, and it’s great to connect with other like-minded experts. 

    The next workshop related to the product fraud area is:

    Economically-Motivated Adulteration of Food Ingredients and Dietary Supplements, September 26, 2013 – September 27, 2013

    In this workshop I will be presenting:

    Food Ingredient and Dietary Supplement Fraud Prevention and the Global Food Safety Initiative, Session: Working Collaboratively to Address Adulteration, Friday, September 27, 2 pm

    There are several colleagues from whom I am especially interested in hearing.  They include:

    • Plenary, Simon Kelly, Ph.D., Research Leader, Contaminants and Authenticity Programme, Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), UK
      He is a leader in a group that has been championing Food Fraud prevention specifically in the UK, but more broadly in the EU.  We are collaborating on an EU Food Authenticity grant.
    • Doping of Dietary Supplements, Oliver Catlin, Anti-Doping Sciences Institute (ADSI) and Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG); Anti-Doping Research (ADR); Support Clean Sport
      Product Fraud – and intentionally circumventing tests – has impacted the globe from professional bike racing in Europe, to Olympic athletes around the world, to Major League Baseball in the US.  Sports are a common focal point for citizens of the world.   We can leverage this focal point to help citizens become aware of their risks with their everyday products.
    • Economically Motivated Food Adulteration in India – A Challenge for Scientists, Analysts and Enforcement Authorities, Hemant Koshia, Ph.D., Food and Drugs Control Administration, India
      Many countries like India have a tremendous challenge in changing good manufacturing practices and addressing cultural norms.  Countries like India have made great progress and are rushing forward to protect citizens from the life-and-death threats of Food Fraud.
    • CFSA’s Experiences on Improving Safety by Blacklisting (Banning) Compounds for Foods, Yongning Wu, M.D., Ph.D., Chinese National Center for Food Safety and Risk Assessment
      China is another country with tremendous challenges that is making amazing progress in combating Food Fraud.  CFSA has been a leader, and the insights from Professor Yonging are always fascinating.  We are colleagues on the Food Ingredient Expert Panel and I recently presented a Food Fraud Initiative Overview at a session he was chairing in Tianjin, China.
    • Food Fraud and Fake Supplements – Experiences of an Analytical Laboratory, Michèle Lees, Ph.D., Eurofins Analytics France SAS
      Identifying the types of Food Fraud and Dietary Supplement Fraud is important.  To expand the benefits of the advancing technologies we need quick, portable, and economical tests that can detect the adulteration.  With a focus on the fraud opportunity the detection can lead to deterrence of specific bad guys or vulnerabilities, which, within a strategic framework, can lead to prevention.  Eurofins has been on the front line of addressing these needs.  Michele has been on the front lines with companies and with certification work such as with the Global Food Safety Initiative.  She always has important perspectives on non-targeted testing (testing for any anomaly) vs. targeted testing (testing for melamine down to 1 part per million).  We are colleagues on the Food Fraud Think Tank that is providing insight to the Global Food Safety Initiative.

    Someone said you can “lead, follow, or get out of the way.”  Others say “lead or be led.”  Don’t let the world be dictated to you.  Get involved so you can have an impact on the laws, regulations, and standards for the marketplace and the world.  These USP workshops and Expert Panels are great opportunities to make an impact.  Begin by attending this workshop to understand more about the topic and on how to get involved with USP.  JWS.

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