Foreword Vol.2 Nr.3

During the first wave of COVID-19 here in Italy where about 30 000 people died in just a few weeks, many new — and a few weird — things happened. Scientists and laboratories started looking for the virus in the air and in airborne microparticles (a good idea), in sewage (a good idea), and on food packaging and in food itself (a much less good idea). As soon as food retailers heard that the virus could be found on their shelves, they decided to start testing for COVID-19 on food products, on shelves, and on any other surfaces where the virus could have been. But with the same speed that demand for testing rose, it fell. Even the Chinese CDC, after initially reporting that COVID-19 can survive on frozen food, stated that the probability of getting infected by touching food is very low. In this issue of Affidia, we present a qualified opinion about this testing. We also analyse the available recall and non-compliancy data in order to understand to what extent the pandemic in Europe has had an impact on food safety.

In our first issue, about one year ago, we focused on food allergen regulations and detection methods. In this issue we return to this topic to report on an interesting survey conducted in the UK food industry on the consequences of introducing thresholds to avoid the proliferation of precautionary allergen labeling (PAL).

A number of other interesting papers follow about topics like food fraud (from a criminological point of view), the possible impact on food safety of reusing and recycling food waste, African swine fever, non-targeted mass spectrometric analytical methods in food authenticity, and the use of next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies for food safety and food authenticity. We also include a new column about service laboratories because they perform 95% of all food controls. We reveal a little about their history and their different approaches in an effort to present a step-by-step exploration of the role they play in food safety.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the colleagues that have sent us kind messages to express appreciation for our work and for the journal we have delivered to them. It has not been easy, but I’m grateful that the community understands who we are and I look forward to your continued support in the future. Soon the magazine will be online and we will begin providing quality videos and podcasts with the same care with which we present the journal.

Last but not least I want to announce that Affidia is launching a new service: a third party technical and business assessment of new analytical rapid methods and devices for food safety and authenticity (see the note on page 63 for details). The death valley of startups is easier to cross when an independent expert body confirms the value of a startup’s innovations or advises them that further improvements are necessary. We believe both public and private investors will benefit.

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