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Identifying Food Fraud

An introduction to modern analytical science techniques and how they can be used to uncover food fraud.

19,474 enrolled on this course

Meat being analysed in a laboratory for signs of food fraud

Identifying Food Fraud

19,474 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
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    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

The food industry is one of the most important commercial sectors in the world. Everyone uses it, but how many people abuse it? As we witness the increasing globalisation of the supply chain, a growing challenge is verifying the questionable identity of raw materials in the food we eat.

In this course we will look at topical issues concerning ‘food fraud’ and explore ways in which analytical chemistry can help in its identification and prevention. We’ll share fascinating examples, such as the history of white bread and a surprising ingredient once found in bitter beer.

The University of East Anglia has joined forces with the world-renowned Institute of Food Research (IFR) to bring you this unique course. You’ll be led by Kate Kemsley, a specialist in the use of advanced instrumentation for measuring the chemical composition of food materials. Course content is linked with UEA’s MChem postgraduate programme, which supports final-year students’ practical research projects in this area of science.

Where could this course take me?

If you are planning to study Chemistry at college or university - this course will give you an essential overview of some instrumental techniques that you are likely to encounter. This includes exploration of infrared technology, NMR and mass spectrometry; important areas of Chemistry for A-Level students to grasp.

This course is also designed to support the professional development of those currently working in the food industry, who want to delve deeper into the methods analytical chemists take in the measurements of food materials and ingredients. It will act as the perfect refresher for your current knowledge base, as you can interact online with thousands of individuals working in the food sector today.

What and how will I learn?

You’ll acquire knowledge and understanding of infrared technology, NMR and mass spectrometry with practical examples linked to current standards and issues in the food sector. You will gain a global perspective of the value of chemistry in this area and learn from analytical chemists in action.

By enjoying a balance of theory and practical applications, students learn directly from academics at the University of East Anglia and scientists from the Institute of Food Research, with a brilliant chance to network throughout the duration of the course.

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  • Week 1

    Becoming a food fraud detective

    • Introduction to the course

      In this course we will look at topical issues concerning food fraud, and explore ways in which analytical chemistry can help in its identification and prevention.

    • Introducing infrared spectroscopy

      In this activity, we will watch near-infrared spectroscopy being used to examine edible oils, and learn about the fundamentals of infrared spectroscopy.

    • End of week roundup

      Test your knowledge of NIR spectroscopy, read some more about the history of analytical chemistry for food fraud detection, and join the discussion on how you are getting on.

  • Week 2

    Ensuring value with mid-infrared

    • Mid-infrared spectroscopy: for a more detailed analysis

      For samples like oils, MIR spectroscopy can be as simple to use as NIR. Here we will see that it gives a much more detailed picture of the sample composition.

    • Coffee: a high value commodity with a complex chemical composition

      In this activity, we will see how FTIR can be used to analyse solid samples - coffee beans - uncovering some of the many chemical components of this important commodity.

    • End of week roundup

      In this end of week activity, we'll provide you with some further resources and see what you've learnt so far.

  • Week 3

    Cutting-edge magnetic resonance techniques

    • High-field NMR: a gold standard analytical technique

      Introducing Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy, a cornerstone of chemistry labs worldwide

    • Bench-top NMR: an affordable alternative

      Introducing low-field, "bench-top" NMR spectrometers, based on permanent magnets and ease of use; these instruments offer good analytical specificity at a much lower cost than their high-field cousins.

    • End of week round-up

      What have you learnt about NMR; how is the course going for you?

  • Week 4

    Verifying food origins using stable isotopes

    • Isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS)

      In this activity, we will learn how measurements of stable isotopes can be used to uncover the origin of foods and ingredients, such as honey.

    • Final thoughts on the course

      In this final activity, we'll round up what you've learnt this week and from the course.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the general issues with food fraud
  • Apply a knowledge of the scientific techniques for detecting fraud in the scenarios in the course
  • Identify how food fraud might impact on consumers and producers of foods
  • Reflect on the social and economic impacts of food fraud

Who is the course for?

No formal qualifications, just an interest in food fraud and a basic understanding of chemistry.

What do people say about this course?

"Thanks for sharing your knowledge. It was very interesting for me to learn about all those techniques. One of my teachers from University asked me to do a project about what I learned here."

"I have always had a passion for food but now understanding the process behind checking the various food stuff has been enlightening and most enjoyable. Sad that the journey in this particular pathway has come to an end. Thank you for making the information so clear, I hope you will consider making more in the future. I am off to the Biochemistry course now."

Who will you learn with?

I head up the Analytical Sciences Unit at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich. For more on my team's work, visit http://asu.ifr.ac.uk/.

Who developed the course?

UEA (University of East Anglia)

The University of East Anglia is an internationally renowned university providing top quality academic, social and cultural facilities to over 15,000 students from over 100 countries around the globe.

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Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 23 Jun 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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