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Testing to target food fraud

While food fraud is causing concern for consumers, it's also a big problem for retailers and food manufacturers and the industry is responding by ramping up testing regimes and developing new technologies that can identify dodgy ingredients and spot fake food.

Michael Jackson, managing director of the Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA), which owns independent food testing laboratory Agrifood Technology, says testing for food quality, nutritional values, allergens, chemical residues and toxins, as well as fraud, is becoming more common in the Australian food industry.

"I think the retailers, particularly, who are selling goods are looking at their suppliers to insist that they've got professional Q.A (quality assurance) systems in place to make sure there won't be problems of a food safety nature when you have the embarrassment of product recalls and all the things that go with that, not to mention potentially harming people," Mr Jackson said.

He says international events, like the horsemeat substitution scandal, which saw horsemeat passed off as beef in pre-packaged products like lasagne in Europe last year, often lead to a spike in Australian companies requesting tests of food products.

"We all know about the horsemeat substitution scandal and that was the type of event that provoked a lot of retailers in Australia to get some testing done, to check and double check that they were not inadvertently part of that food fraud scheme," Mr Jackson said.

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Original Article: By Catherine McAloon, ABC Rural, 25/06/2014