Food integrity and fraud: news round-up

Indian death penalty for illicit liquor; tuna poisoning; toxic dye in noodles; and QR codes for traceability.

Death penalty introduced in Indian state for illicit liquor trade

The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh plans to introduce the death penalty for criminals dealing with illicit alcohol if their activities result in death or permanent disability, reports ExpressNewsOnline. The penalties for involvement in the trade have been jacked up across the board, with life imprisonment and heftier fines also tabled in the new legislative amendment. Uttar Pradesh has been plagued by illicit alcohol with fatalities not uncommon - in July 17 people in the state died after consuming bootleg liquor, says the newspaper.

Tuna fish fraud sickens 105 people in Spain

Spanish police have arrested seven people in connection with a mass food poisoning incident in which 105 people from Spain and other EU countries succumbed to histamine poisoning after eating tuna, according to a Fis article. Histamine is present in low levels in freshly-caught fish but increases rapidly if it is left unrefrigerated. The company involved in supplying the tuna failed to keep proper traceability records and provided analytic reports that contained fraudulent information.

Toxic tinopal dye found in Vietnamese food

Unscrupulous food manufacturers have added an optical brightening agent used in detergent and industrial cleaners to noodles to make them more attractive and extend their shelf life – leading to abdominal pain and vomiting among people who consume them, according to news website The dye – called tinopal – contains noxious substances including heavy metals and if taken in large quantities could cause cancer, says the report.

New Zealand meat company turns to QR codes

Faced with dented consumer confidence in the food supply chain a New Zealand meat processor has decided to add QR codes to its retail packaging so purchasers can check the origins of its products, says the Otago Daily Times. Silver Fern Farms says each pack will include a code that consumers can scan to verify the product is authentic and identify the region and farm where it was produced, along with other information such as recipe suggestions. The codes have been introduced with help from Oritain, which has also worked an anti-fraud chemical fingerprinting project for seafood.

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