Sorting the Beef from the Bull: The Science of Food Fraud Forensics


Sorting the Beef from the Bull: The Science of Food Fraud Forensics by Richard Evershed and Nicola Temple

Synopsis: Horsemeat in burgers was hard to swallow, but there are far more sinister culinary crimes afoot…

Chicken eggs that haven’t come from chickens, melamine in infant’s milk in China, nut shells in spices – these are just some examples of the food fraud that has occurred in recent years. As our urban lifestyle takes us further and further away from our food sources, there are increasing opportunities for dishonesty, duplicity and profit-making short-cuts.

Food adulteration, motivated by money, is an issue that has spanned the globe throughout human history. Whether it’s a matter of making a good quality oil stretch a bit further by adding a little extra ‘something’ or labelling a food falsely to appeal to current consumer trends – it’s all food fraud, and it costs the food industry billions of dollars each year. The price to consumers may be even higher, with some paying for these crimes with their health and, in some cases, their lives.

Sorting the Beef from the Bull is a collection of food fraud tales from around the world. It explains the role of science in uncovering some of the century’s biggest food scams, and explores the arms race between food forensics and fraudsters as new methods of detection spur more creative and sophisticated means of committing the crimes. This book equips us with the knowledge of what is possible in the world of food fraud and shines a light on the shady areas of our food supply system where these criminals lurk.

Published: February 2016 | ISBN: 9781472911339

Mini-bio: Richard Evershed uses innovative techniques to analyse archaeological finds and reveal a ‘chemical fingerprint’ that sheds light on the animals hunted — and plants farmed — by ancient humans. His work is providing fascinating insights into how diets evolved as humans migrated away from the Middle East nearly 11,000 years ago. Using chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques, Richard separates and identifies trace ‘biomolecules’ found in ancient pots and other artefacts. He then compares results from different periods and locations in human history to show how diets have changed. By applying his methods to fossils and ancient soils, Richard is discovering new information about prehistoric animals and the Earth’s past climate. – The Royal Society bio

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