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

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 shortcuts. 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.

About the Author

Richard Evershed FRS is Professor of Biogeochemistry at the University of Bristol. He researches the diets and agriculture of our ancestors and the environmental impacts of modern farming systems. The analytical chemical methodologies he has pioneered are used widely. In the area of food fraud his team developed a method for detecting the highly lucrative but illegal adulteration of vegetable oil. Nicola Temple is a biologist, conservationist and science writer. Her writing has taken her from the precipices of volcanoes in Ethiopia to the banks of salmon streams in Canada’s temperate rainforest. Based in Bristol, Nicola works with universities, research councils and individuals to develop engaging science stories on how research has an impact beyond the closeted world of academia. It was while investigating the impact of Richard’s work that Nicola was first introduced to the world of food fraud. nicolatemple.com / @nicolatemple

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