October 2019

The Food Authenticity Network announces industry support and a new Chair for Advisory Board

The Food Authenticity Network has announced that McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE: MKC), a global leader in flavour, is its first industry supporter.

In addition, Sterling Crew (FIFST, FCIEH, FRSPH, CEnvH, CSci.), Co-Founder of Kitchen Conversation, Managing Director of SQS Ltd and Strategic Advisor at Shield Safety Group and Dynamic Risk Indicator, Independent Scientific advisor and board member at Campden BRI is to become the Chair of the Advisory Board for the Network as of immediate effect.

McCormick & Company, Inc. sources high-quality raw materials and ingredients from over 80 countries to manufacture, market, and distribute spices and other products around the world.

Clare Menezes (RFoodSP), Global Director Food Integrity, McCormick and Company Inc., said, “Food safety and integrity is vitally important to McCormick and Company. The Food Authenticity Network’s resources and website provide the ultimate ‘one-stop shop’ for anyone involved in food fraud prevention. With so much activity in this space, receiving daily information from multiple sources can be overwhelming. Through the website, member’s monthly highlights email, twitter account and newsletter, I am able to get straight to the pertinent information in a condensed and easy-to-understand way”.

Selvarani Elahi, UK Deputy Government Chemist and Project Leader, Food Authenticity Network, said, “I believe that we can only effectively combat global food fraud by working together, so, I am delighted that McCormick and Company have become our first industry supporter. We are currently having lots of exciting discussions with the food industry and other governments, and hope that many other organisations will follow McCormick and Company’s lead to support the Food Authenticity Network.”

Selvarani Elahi continued, “Given the recent report on the negative impact of illicit trade on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Food Authenticity Network is poised to play a valuable role in the global fight against food fraud and positively influence food safety and security.  To support our vision to create a global network, the independent management committee will transition into an independent advisory board and I am thrilled that Sterling Crew will be our new Chairperson. Sterling’s experience as a regulator and retailer gives him a unique perspective on the development of the food industry and makes him the perfect choice for our new Chair.”

Sterling Crew said of the appointment, “It is a great honour to be appointed Chair of The Food Authenticity Network’s Advisory Board. It is an organisation I have always held in high regard. The Network plays an important part in helping to protect consumers from criminal conduct. A number of multiple widespread and widely publicised incidents of food fraud over the past decade has increased media attention to issues of food authenticity and has damaged consumer confidence. It has heightened focus in both the food industry and regulatory agencies. Food fraud is an international phenomenon that crosses borders so a global solution is required. Our aim is to build on the current success of the Network, by working with the food industry and other stakeholders from around the globe and to grow it into a truly worldwide network helping to create a harmonised approach. I would encourage those committed to food authenticity to engage with the Network. Working together we can improve global information on food authenticity, help food fraud mitigation and food supply chain integrity.”

The Network is the only one of its kind in the world; it is an open access website bringing together global information on food authenticity testing, food fraud mitigation and food supply chain integrity in one convenient location.

Set-up in 2015 as a direct response by the UK government to address recommendation 4 of the Elliott Review, the Network enables best practice information to be shared for the benefit of all stakeholders, helping to raise standards world-wide, so consumers can have confidence in the food they buy.

The Network, now working as a public-private partnership led by LGC, a global leader in the life sciences sector - aims to become truly global and able to respond in a rapid, evidence-based manner to future food fraud incidents so that the impact on consumers and legitimate food businesses is minimised. In just over four years, it has grown significantly, with over 1,300 members from 62 different countries and territories, and 8,000 unique users a year accessing information on the Network’s website.