Regulatory authorities and food businesses are focusing greater efforts in combating food fraud which can have serious ramifications for both revenue and reputation. A number of provenance verification schemes have been established in other countries with the express purpose of protecting the denomination of quality associated with particular food products. This includes the Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano protected designation of origin status for artisan cheeses in Italy. There is currently no such scheme for artisan or “farmhouse” cheeses produced on the island of Ireland and yet it is desirable to facilitate a system of provenance confirmation which can provide confidence to consumers in the true geographical origin of artisan cheeses branded as produced on the island of Ireland.
It is therefore prudent at this point in time to investigate analytical methods that could be applied to provide consumers with the necessary assurance of the claimed island of Ireland origin of such products. The concentration and relative ratios of key analytes in a food products such as cheese are mainly influenced by animal diet and geographic location. Several reports from other countries or regions have shown that the use of multivariate analysis of analytical data comprising elemental and isotopic ratio values can provide confirmation of claimed geographic provenance. Given that food animals on the island of Ireland are largely fed a grass-based diet and reside within a discrete insular geographical area, there is potential for developing robust fingerprint models that can characterise indigenous farmhouse cheeses. Ultimately, the development of robust models will require the demonstration of two properties: (a) models should correctly classify the provenance of all island of Ireland-produced artisan cheeses as originating on the island of Ireland, and (b) models should correctly identify that farmhouse cheeses produced outside the island of Ireland are not of island of Ireland provenance. These two objectives are inseparable in the context of the provenance testing desired and must be demonstrated before any such model can be confidently used in practice.
Before this juncture is reached the application of analytical methodologies for the purposes of robust fingerprinting must be investigated. This project was a technology viability study that set out to do just that. The strategy pursued generated a considerable quantity of baseline analytical data on the elemental and isotopic composition of island of Ireland artisanal cheese as well as a selection of artisanal cheeses from Great Britain and mainland Europe. While it was not possible to confirm the geographic provenance of island of Ireland artisanal cheeses with 100% accuracy, nonetheless trends in some of the data, especially the isotope data, suggest the possibility of effective segregation of island of Ireland from mainland European, if not Great Britain, cheeses. Therefore the analytical methodologies investigated have been scoped out for this purpose and can now be taken forward and applied in more focused investigations involving artisan cheeses and other foods produced on the island of Ireland. A number of key recommendations have been made in this regard.
– Multnomah County, Oregon, health officials, 60 students developed stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea after eating beef stroganoff.
– C. perfringens spores often survive cooking but are not a problem until the food is held at an improper temperature.
– These spores can germinate into cells which then can multiply to food poisoning levels if food is held between 41°F and 135°F for more than four hours.Foodsafetyinfosheet-10-28-15
– Use a tip sensitive digital thermometer to measure temperature and monitor throughout service and cooling.
When it comes to food safety temporary events can be problematic. Outbreaks have been linked to food festivals, community dinners and church fundraisers. The newest food safety infosheet is based on a September 2013 outbreak linked to a Shelby, North Carolina church fundraiser.
Food Safety Infosheet Highlights:
– At least 13 individuals who ate at a barbecue event were hospitalized with symptoms including abdominal cramping, diarrhea and vomiting.
– All preparers should know safe cooking/cooling temperatures and procedures. Hold meals and ingredients requiring temperature control either below 41°F or above 135°F.
– Purchase ingredients from commercial food businesses instead of homemade/donated foods and ask about food safety systems for suppliers.
– Community dinners can be great fundraisers but are often held at temporary sites and staffed by volunteers unfamiliar with safe food handling practices for large meals.
Food Safety Infosheet Highlights:
-111 ill after meal at Norwegian swim meet; outbreak was linked to Clostridium perfringens.
-Clostridium perfringens spores often survive cooking.
-If you are hot-holding food have the proper tools available, such as chafing dishes with a heat source. Keep the food above 135°F if service is more than 4hrs after preparation.
– The virus can be introduced into a site by ill patrons or food handlers and can remain on surface for weeks.
– Proper handwashing, excluding ill staff (for at least two days after disappearance of symptoms), and properly cleaning and sanitizing after vomit events can reduce risk.
– Two 2010 outbreaks of norovirus were linked to an Auckland, New Zealand caterer and eventually traced to one food handler. The individual had been ill with norovirus and prepared meals soon after recovering from symptoms.