Revised USP food fraud database expected mid-2016

Painting a tomatoA new, updated version of the US Pharmacopeia (USP) food fraud database is due for completion in the coming weeks.

The 2.0 version of the public database – updating version 1.0 which was first published in 2012 – will significantly expand the content. for example by incorporating reports from other world regions and in other languages.

It will feature new record types, a customisable dashboard and data analytics to provide real-time alerts, and for the first time introduce reporting capabilities have introduced in compliance with the preventive controls included in 2011 Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA).

It will be produced and kept up to date through a combination of data mining (scouring) tools backed up by human oversight to strip out any extraneous information. The current version of the database has around 175,000 users.

“The new version will significantly expand the scope of the database," said USP's Director of Science - Food Standards Jeffrey Moore.

“Food fraud is frequent and often goes undetected, and has potential for significant public and financial harm,” he told delegates at the recent FoodIntegrity 2016 conference in Prague, Czech Republic, noting that it is estimated to cost industry "billions of dollars a year globally."

The perpetrators of this type of crime are very clever, he added, suggesting that the fight against food fraud could be viewed as "a battle between the science of deception and the science of detection."

Last year, USP issued food fraud mitigation guidance that has been included in its Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), a compendium of food quality and safety standards.

“Collaboration and sharing of information is the primary challenge in food fraud,” said Moore, who said USP is focusing on three key areas in its efforts to tackle the problem: analytical tools and data analysis; mitigation and monitoring tools, and capacity building in areas such as training and education.

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