IGFS lab named 'Centre of Expertise'
The ASSET Technology Centre, at the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen’s University Belfast, has been recognised in the area of combatting food fraud.
The ASSET lab has been named a ‘Centre of Expertise’ by the Food Authenticity Network (FAN), a Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) initiative.
It is the only university centre included on the list and, along with the Agrifood and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), included for bovine DNA testing, one of only two centres from Northern Ireland.
The laboratory, situated in the new Biological Sciences building at Chlorine Gardens, was founded by Professor Chris Elliott and houses some of the most cutting-edge technology available in any university globally to facilitate rapid testing for food authenticity and/or contamination.
The lab boasts multiple platforms based on sensor technology, molecular spectroscopy (benchtop NIR, FTIR and Raman; handheld Neospectra NIR, SCiO NIR, Flame NIR and Raman) and mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS, QToF-MS, DART-MS, REIMS, GC-MS/MS, ICP-MS, IRMS).
In 2019, ASSET was awarded ISO accreditation, an industry ‘gold standard’ that is particularly rare for a university lab to achieve, for authenticity testing of herbs and spices.
IGFS is now listed as a ‘Food Authenticity Centre of Expertise’ on the FAN following acknowledgement of its expertise in July 2020 by DEFRA, the UK Food Standards Agency and Food Safety Scotland.
Commenting on the development, Selvarani Elahi, Executive Director of FAN said: "It is very fitting that IGFS has been acknowledged as a Food Authenticity Centre of Expertise given that the concept originated from the Elliott Review. Stakeholders must have access to a network of expert laboratories providing fit-for-purpose food-authenticity testing and research so that results are trusted and comparable across the world, helping to build more resilient, global food-supply chains."
Prof Elliott said: "This is a great accolade for all the researchers in the ASSET Centre. The cutting-edge work they have conducted to detect food contamination supports many sectors of the feed and food industry, both nationally and internationally."
To find out more about ASSET and other IGFS facilities, see here.