Food Authenticity Podcast Episode 3 - Peter Awram & Gillian Wade
Honey fraud is a longstanding and deeply rooted problem that is widely recognized as having a direct correlation to the survival of beekeepers. Honey fraud is also a very real threat to worldwide food supplies, as beekeepers fulfill the important role of supporting pollinators which are vital in the maintenance of global food chains.
This podcast explores the issue of honey adulteration and fraud from the perspective of both a honey producer and an expert in the legal aspects of food fraud.
The podcast features Dr. Peter Awram - a second-generation beekeeper whose beekeeping business is the largest in British Columbia and has been in operation since the 1950s. Peter holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of British Columbia and is currently researching honey analysis techniques.
Joining Peter is Gillian Wade – a plaintiff lawyer specializing in consumer fraud class actions with over 17 years of experience in food fraud litigation. Gillian leads the consumer fraud and class action litigation department at Milstein Jackson Fairchild & Wade, LLP, and is a member of the Outside Advisory Board of the UCLA Resnick Center for Food & Law Policy.
Challenges in addressing honey fraud are widespread and complex. Many countries and regions employ varying standards, legal frameworks and labeling regulations, making appropriate legal action difficult. Our guests outline these complexities and the impact of these challenges on consumer choice, individual buying habits, food manufacturers, and local and national industry bodies.
They also look at the work being done to address honey fraud, including developing globally recognized testing standards and raising awareness among consumers. The pair also discuss the promising developments in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, which have the potential to make the detection and characterization of adulterated or fraudulent honey simpler and more accessible than ever before.
Dr. Peter Awram
Dr. Peter Awram is a second-generation beekeeper at Worker Bee Honey Company, the largest beekeeping operation in British Columbia, Canada. Founded in 1973, the business has branches in both British Columbia and Alberta. He is also the CEO of True Honey Buzz, an organization creating a database of authentic honey samples.
Peter became interested in the FoodScreener a few years ago when it became apparent just how bad the adulteration of honey had become. He is now using the technology to develop a database of honey profiles and to address adulteration in the marketplace.
Peter obtained a Ph.D. with a focus on molecular biology and has written several peer-reviewed papers. This combination of science and beekeeping is why it became apparent to him that NMR honey analysis was essential to the future of the honey industry.
Gillian L. Wade
Gillian L. Wade leads MJFW’s consumer fraud and class action litigation department. Since joining the firm in 2005, Gillian’s practice has focused on representing plaintiffs in complex litigation and consumer class actions stemming from a wide range of unlawful activities including violations of California’s unfair competition law and false advertising law, antitrust violations, the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, data breach and privacy violations, financial abuse of the elderly and disabled statutes, employment violations, warranty and product liability laws, and civil rights abuses. Gillian has been involved in the resolution of over 75 consumer fraud class actions.
In 2019, Gillian accepted an invitation to join the Outside Advisory Board of the UCLA Resnick Center for Food & Law Policy.
Gillian was also selected to be on the 2018-2019 executive committee for The Class Action Trial Lawyers Association – Top 25, and is currently serving on the national St. Jude Children’s Hospital cy pressubcommittee. Gillian has been selected for the list of Southern California Super Lawyers every year since 2013, a distinction awarded to only 5% of lawyers statewide. Prior to joining the firm, Gillian was a litigation associate at Jones Day where she defended corporations in consumer fraud class actions, ERISA cases, and actions arising under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Gillian is a graduate of the University of California at San Diego (B.A. Political Science, 1999) and Pepperdine University (J.D. 2003), where she graduated magna cum laude, was a recipient of the John Purfield Memorial Scholarship for academic excellence and served as a staff writer for the Pepperdine Law Review.