European Union initiatives to detect and prevent fraud in the food chain
Franz Ulberth- Head of Fraud Detection and Prevention Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Geel, Belgium
International collaboration on food safety is already well established, while for food authenticity this is not yet the case. There is a great need for international harmonisation in order to be able to detect and, what is more important, prevent or at least minimise fraud. Therefore, the fight against food fraud calls for a global approach involving cooperation and consultation among all stakeholders at all levels of the food chain. Prevention of fraud in the agri-food chain and promotion of authentic products is a major element to assure the commercial success of European high-value agri-food products on international markets. Loosing reputation in this area will negatively impact on competitiveness and profitability of farmers in the EU. On top, the basic right of consumers to have access to authentic products has to be protected.
On 14 January 2014 the European Parliament published a resolution on the food crisis, fraud in the food chain and the control thereof, calling on the European Commission, amongst other issues, to give food fraud the full attention it warrants and to take all necessary steps to make the prevention and combating of food fraud an integral part of EU policy.
The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has long-standing expertise in food science including authenticity research and expertise in developing, applying and validating analytical methods to detect fraud in the food chain. The presentation will review initiatives of the European Commission to fight fraud in the food chain and address needs and research gaps that can only be plugged by international cooperation.
Franz Ulberth is Head of the Fraud Detection and Prevention Unit at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. Franz graduated (PhD) in "Food Science and Biotechnology" from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna, Austria. In 1994 he was appointed professor of food chemistry at the same university. Franz joined JRC in 2002 as a programme co-ordinator for food and environmental reference materials. In 2007 Franz was nominated Head of the Food Safety and Quality Unit. As of July 2016 he heads a newly created Unit devoted to detection of fraud in the food chain and selected consumer goods such as tobacco. He represents the Joint Research Centre in relevant food related technical committees of standards developing organisations such as the European Committee for Standardization, International Organization for Standardization, AOAC International and the Codex Alimentarius. Franz served for a long time on the editorial board of Food Chemistry, European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, and currently is editorial board member of Food Additives and Contaminants.