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National Reference Centre

National Reference Centre for Authentic Food

© iStockphoto.com/ isak55

Authentic (from the Late Latin authenticus, Greek authentikós) means “in accordance with the facts”, “credible” or “real”. Authentic food is accordingly “real” food. What we know about this food concurs with the facts. What this means is that Greek oil comes from Greece, organic spinach has been cultivated in accordance with EU regulations on the production of organic products, and beef is beef and not horsemeat.

If tests reveal that the sole on your plate is actually flounder or pangasius, this may just be an error, or it may indicate systematic fraud. Which of the two, is eventually a matter for the courts. What exactly German restaurants serve up is monitored by the investiga-tion offices in the Federal States. The tools for uncovering bogus fish are developed by researchers. To ensure that consumers always get what they have ordered, many different institutions cooperate at various levels. A robust communication structure is the mainstay of efficient, competent collaboration.

The National Reference Centre for Authentic Food (NRZ-Authent) that is currently being established at the Max Rubner-Institut will provide the responsible monitoring authorities with easy access to current, reliable information, data and research findings.

The tasks of NRZ-Authent include

 • providing specialist knowledge
 • communicating relevant research results and innovations
 • conducting training and ring trials
 • developing, evaluating and disseminating methods for establishing fraudulent, misleading practices
 • identifying specific parts of the food chain that are particularly susceptible to food fraud

Organisation of NRZ-Authent

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) has decided to set up NRZ-Authent at the Max Rubner-Institut. NRZ-Authent’s tasks will be undertaken in cooperation with the institutions in the division. A steering committee will deliberate and decide on important strategic resolutions pertaining to the reference centre. Additional specialist committees will have an advisory role and be tasked with providing specialist expertise for strategic decision-making.

Target group NRZ-Authent

The authorities responsible for monitoring food authenticity are the primary, key target group for NRZ-Authent’s activities.