Food Quality Magazine January 2016 - Page 7

Food Quality Magazine ISSUE 01 | JANUARY 2016 The Incidence of Fraud Cases on Basmati Rice and Cocoa Powder Miroslav Šuška, QUALIFOOD s.r.o. Basmati Rice Basmati is a long grain variety of rice grown in India and Pakistan with a distinct aroma when cooked. Due to its high value in the market, Basmati rice is often subjected to adulteration and replacement. Based on the US Pharmacopeial Convention Food Fraud Database, the most common type of fraud committed for Basmati rice is replacement. Basmati rice is commonly replaced by rice of non-authentic botanical origin comprising almost 90% of fraud cases. Basmati rice fraud was first reported in 2000, however, up until 2014, fake or adulterated packs were reportedly seized. In the US and Canada, around 30% of Basmati rice sold is adulterated. Whereas, in the UK, half of the rice sold in the market as Basmati is actually of a different variety of longgrained rice. Brown Basmati does not have import tax, so some importers would declare other variety as such. Rice blending is actually allowed but non-Basmati content should be no higher than 7%. Based on Food Standards Agency’s methodology, DNA testing serves as the best way to determine fake Basmati rice. DNA techniques to profile rice started in 2009 and now became an essential part in ensuring the purity of Basmati rice. For instance, rice suppliers Amira and Tilda, make is a point to subject their products to DNA testing before releasing it to the market. Testing is actually voluntary, but it helps establish consumer trust for Basmati rice products. Cocoa Powder There were recorded cases of cocoa powder adulteration as early as the 18th century. However, the addition of starches to cocoa powder were mainly due to the undeveloped way of processing chocolate. Starches were added to absorb the excess cocoa butter in the powder. Nowadays, the high cost of raw materials, particularly in making chocolates, prompted the illegal replacement of cocoa powder with cheaper ingredients. According to the FoodFraud.org website, cocoa powder is often substituted with cheaper ingredients such as arrowroot, grain flours, chicory powder, cocoa husks, carob powder, chestnut shell, peanut shell, sesame meal, soybean flour, soybean meal and many other non-authentic material. Several tests led to the detection of food fraud in cocoa powder, namely, single NIR measurement, protein determination, and PCR detection of exogenous vegetative components in cocoa powder. Food fraud poses as a threat to food safety. The food industry must address the growing incidence of adulteration and replacement of food. If this goes on, it will not only be a danger to public safety, it would also be a cause for consumers to lose their trust and confidence to the food manufacturing industry in general. On top of that, food integrity is also compromised because supply chain control shifts to the hands of the criminals and away from the proper food authorities. Source: US Pharmacopeial Convention Food Fraud Database (www.foodfraud. org) Food Standards Agency (www.foodgov.uk). 7