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The European horse meat scandal of 2013 refocused global attention on food authenticity. Food fraud inflicts harm on consumers and businesses, eroding confidence in the integrity of our global food system. Reputations can be badly damaged, food safety compromised and money and trust lost. The subsequent review I led introduced the term ‘food crime’ into the lexicon and my recommendations were accepted in full by the UK Government. These included the development of methods, their validation and sustainable laboratory services as key components.

This book is edited by a distinguished trio of scientists who each played a significant role in dealing with the horse meat scandal and its aftermath. They have recruited the top experts in the fields of molecular biology and food authenticity across the globe to contribute what will, I am sure, become the definitive text on DNA techniques to verify food authenticity.

They have fulfilled their aims to provide a fundamental understanding of modern DNA techniques applied to food and to reflect current issues and cutting-edge techniques, such as next generation sequencing and digital PCR. They enable the reader to choose optimum techniques and approaches to address various aspects of food authenticity amenable to DNA techniques. They have also considered wider aspects around harmonisation, standardisation and collaboration, which are intrinsic to ‘fit for purpose’ analysis to protect consumers, enforce food labelling law and maintain a competitive and resilient food sector.

The book will serve as an informative reference text for new users and provide a touchstone for best practice for experienced scientists. I congratulate the editors and contributors for successfully compiling this excellent volume that describes the state of the art of DNA-based approaches for the detection and prevention of food fraud and food crime.

Christopher Elliott OBE

Founder of the Institute for Global Food Security

Queen's University of Belfast

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