Daily Archives: January 12, 2015

  • DNAtrax tracks tainted olive oil and other food with molecular bar code

    LLNL physical chemist George Farquar, who led the team that invented DNATrax, demonstrates how the product can be applied to food.

    According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), 129,000 Americans are sent to hospital and 3,000 die each year from food poisoning. Currently, tracing contaminated food is largely a matter of record keeping and detective work, but Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers, in partnership with DNATrek, have developed DNATrax, a DNA-based additive for directly tracking food from producer to consumer.

    Food poisoning due to outbreaks is a major problem, putting thousands of lives at risk, wasting tons of recalled foodstuffs, with US$70 billion dollars lost in the US alone each year. The problem is that current methods of tracing outbreaks are inefficient, time consuming and imprecise because they rely on what is essentially a combination of accountancy, interviews, and logical deduction to trace contaminated foods back along what is often an incomplete trail. That’s where DNATrax comes in

    Originally designed for bio-defense work, DNATrax was created as a way to simulate germ warfare attacks on indoor and outdoor targets. The conventional way of determining the weak spots in targets ranging from underground rail systems to the Pentagon is to spray harmless bacteria into the air, later collect samples from various places, then incubate them to see how the bacteria has spread. With DNATrax, the bacteria is replaced by particles of non-biological DNA that can be collected with simple forensic swabs and then subjected to DNA analysis. The application of food tracking was an unexpected bonus.

    DNATrax is surprisingly simple. It’s an odorless, tasteless substance that’s classified as a harmless food additive by the US Food and Drug Administration. It’s made of strands of non-living and non-viable DNA encased in sugars similar to common icing sugar. These strands, like all DNA, can record information and have 1060 variations, so they can contain a lot of data that, according to LLNL, acts like “an invisible barcode.”

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    Applying DNATrax is simply a matter of spraying it on fruits, vegetables and meats, or mixing it in with bulk commodities like honey, olive oil, flour, or rice. The idea is to use the DNA to record a code sequence with data such as what the product is, where it came from, when it was harvested and so on. Then simple polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology can identify the code and reveal the origin of the product in about an hour, right down to which tree a particular apple came from.

    Aside from tracking down contaminated food, LLNL says that DNATrax can also help combat food piracy. Most people have heard of movie or music piracy and may have come across a dodgy “Rolex” down the market, but piracy is actually a major problem for almost all commerce – including food. Called wastage, grocery shelves are constantly invaded by everything from fake corn flakes to counterfeit honey selling under false labels, to adulterated wines and olive oils mixing the premium with the cheap stuff. Since such label swapping and adulteration does not occur where the food is produced, but somewhere down the line, DNATrax can identify fraudulent foods as well as how many adulterants have been added, how much, and where they came from.

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    LLNL physical chemist George Farquar, who led the team that invented DNATrax, demonstrates how the product can be applied to food. According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), 129,000 Americans are sent to hospital and 3,000 die each year from food poisoning. Currently,... 
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  • Italians buy Greek olives to cover needs

    Trucks carrying olives from the Peloponnese – mainly Ilia – have been ferried across the Adriatic Sea, as traders from Italy have for the first time bought not only olive oil in bulk but also olives, to cover the loss in Italian production that has reached 35 percent this year.

    Olive presses and producers may be officially denying the olive deliveries, but the Ilia Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the Agricultural Development Ministry asking for an intervention should the practice increase and lead to local olive presses suffering.

    The purchase of Greek olive oil to be packaged and labeled “made in Italy” is common practice, but it is the first time that the acquisition and shipping of olives as raw materials for Italian olive presses is taking place.

    Constantinos Papadopoulos, the owner of an olive press at Pyrgos in Ilia, explained that the Italians have cooperated with some Greeks to secure quantities of olives. Sources say they bought olives without asking too much about the quality, paying 330-450 euros per ton.

    “These rates are very beneficial for producers as they get cash in hand and do not have to pay for presses,” he said.

    Article By Tania Georgiopoulou, source

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    Trucks carrying olives from the Peloponnese – mainly Ilia – have been ferried across the Adriatic Sea, as traders from Italy have for the first time bought not only olive oil in bulk but also olives, to cover the loss in Italian production that has reached 35 percent this... 
    Read More →
  • Vote for "agora"

    “agora” Fine Greek Foods producer are very proud to represent Greece as a ‘National Champion’. “agora” was nominated for ‘The Award for Customer Focus’. If you want to learn more about Greek olive products & become an olive lover,

    Vote for agora!

    Adrian Tripp, CEO of the European Business Awards said: “Congratulations to agora, it is a great achievement to be named National Champion and we wish them luck in the next stage.

    The European Business Awards is going from strength to strength, inspiring businesses to greater success and helping to improve the competitive edge of companies across Europe.”
    EBA National Champion 2014-15

    EBA National Champion 2014-15
    History
    Agora is the first Greek Olive Oil concept store. Agora offers a variety of gourmet Greek delicacies. At agora, we seek out the highest quality foods from all over Greece, provide exceptional culinary experiences and choose traditional ways of producing contemporary products with high nutritional value.

    Agora comes to place on your table a product with unmatched nutritional value! We created a Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), from Kolymvari, Chania, Crete, a region recognized worldwide and awarded for the quality of the oil it produces. read more

    Agora Fine Greek Foods
    22 Papagou, Polichni, 56533
    Thessaloniki, Greece
    +30 231 3030286
    www.agorafinefoods.com/

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    Rating: 6.5/10 (20 votes cast)
    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +6 (from 14 votes)
    “agora” Fine Greek Foods producer are very proud to represent Greece as a ‘National Champion’. “agora” was nominated for ‘The Award for Customer Focus’. If you want to learn more about Greek olive products & become an olive lover, Vote for... 
    Read More →