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Tentamus Group GmbH launches ‘Global Center of Excellence for Food Fraud’

The Tentamus Group, located in Berlin, provides tailored services to the food industry. Large investments in Technology and Methodology to detect Food Fraud have been made.

The expertise of more than 30 laboratories are bundled as part of the “Global Centre of Excellence for Food Fraud” to tailor specific solutions for our clients’ demands.

Joint Europol-INTERPOL operation targeting counterfeit and substandard food and drink, as well as the organised crime networks behind this illicit trade, has resulted in the seizure of 9 800 tonnes, over 26.4 million litres, and 13 million units/items worth an estimated EUR240 million of potentially harmful food and beverages ranging from every day products such as alcohol, mineral water, seasoning cubes, seafood and olive oil, to luxury goods such as caviar.

61 countries took part in operation OPSON VI. Each participating country implemented a national operational phase between December 2016 to March 2017, involving police, customs, national food regulatory bodies and partners from the private sector. More than 50 000 checks were carried out at shops, markets, airports, seaports and industrial estates.

The operation confirmed the threat that food fraud represents, as it affects all types of products and all regions of the world. In addition, we saw some new trends such as counterfeit mineral water. Once again, the good cooperation on a European and global level was paramount to disrupt the criminal gangs behind the illicit trade in counterfeit and unregulated food and drink,” said Chris Vansteenkiste, head of Europol’s IP Crime Coordinated Coalition – IPC3.

“This operation has once again shown that criminals will fake any type of food and drink with no thought to the human cost as long as they make a profit. Whilst thousands of counterfeit goods have been taken out of circulation, we continue to encourage the public to remain vigilant about the products they buy,” said Françoise Dorcier, Coordinator of INTERPOL’s Illicit Goods and Global Health Programme.

As an example, Germany identified products which could be harmful for allergy sufferers. When 1.3 tones of roasted chopped hazelnuts were checked, German authorities detected 8% of admixed peanuts. In 0.5 tones of hazelnut paste, up to 45% of mixed cashew nuts were detected. In another hazelnut paste, 27% of admixed almonds could be determined. Since these products were not labelled regarding the content of allergenic substances a potential health risk for allergy sufferers was given and the products were withdrawn from the market.

The laboratories of the Tentamus Group strongly contribute to the detection of food fraud, covering a wide range products:

  • Coffee: Detection of addition of cheaper Robusta to high-prized Arabica coffee
  • Tea: „stretching “with other leaves
  • Herbs: Adulteration with other products
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Determination of origin
  • Wine: addition of cheap wine to high-prized wine of declared origin
  • Juices: Addition of fruits other than declared
  • Olive oil: Adulteration with olive oil of lower quality or other types of oil
  • Honey: Adulteration with sugar syrups, authenticity regarding botanical and geographical origin
  • Chocolate: Detection of off-flavours
  • Buffalo Mozzarella: Adulteration with cow milk
  • Meat and Meat stuff: Adulteration with other animal species (“horse meat scandal”)
  • Fish: e.g. percentage of Bonito in Tuna (Thunnus spec.)
  • Dairy products: animal origin (cow, sheep, goat)
  • (allergenic) Plants: e.g.: soya, wheat, mustard, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, sellery, lupines, etc.

The analysis of adulterations senses increasing attention from authorities and food industry alike.

A wide range of analytical equipment and methods are used, among many more FT-IR, TOF-MS, EA-IRMS, LC-MS/MS, NMR, PCR, NGS and ELISA. These techniques are applied as targeted methods (e.g. for marker substances) as well as non-targeted methods, which result in a comprehensive fingerprint of each sample. The „Global Centre of Excellence for Food Fraud” uses the latest state-of-the-art equipment as well as established and brand new trendsetting methods.

Tentamus Group uses a holistic approach by combining the most state-of-the-art analytical methods of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and isotopolomics to provide tailored solutions to our clients in the industrial segment.

In constant exchange with our labs in the sourcing countries, including Spain, Italy, Israel, USA and China, the German laboratories with bilacon, Quality Services International and aromaLAB form the “Global Centre of Excellence for Food Fraud”, to provide authentic food.

Would you like to know more? We experts are glad to assist:


Dr. Yvonne Pfeifer

Tentamus Group

An der Industriebahn 5

13088 Berlin

Tel. +49 30 / 206 038 164

Email: yvonne.pfeifer@tentamus.com


Arne Dübecke

Flughafendamm 9a

28199 Bremen Quality Services International GmbH

Phone +49 -421 – 59 66 07 37

E-Mail: arne.duebecke@qsi-q3.de


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