Bronze Awards are typically completed by students aged 11+. They complete a ten-hour project which is a perfect introduction to STEM project work. Over the course of the project, teams of students design their own investigation, record their findings, and reflect on their learnings. This process gives students a taste of what it is like to be a scientist or engineer in the real-world.
Silver Awards are typically completed by students aged 14+ over thirty hours. Project work at Silver level is designed to stretch your students and enrich their STEM studies. Students direct the project, determining the project’s aim and how they will achieve it. They carry out the project, record and analyse their results and reflect on the project and their learnings. All Silver projects are assessed by CREST assessors via our online platform.
Gold Awards are typically completed by students aged 16+ over seventy hours. Students’ projects are self-directed, longer term and immerse them in real research. At this level, we recommend students work with a mentor from their chosen STEM field of study. All Gold projects are assessed by CREST assessors via our online platform. There are more CREST approved resources that have been developed by our partners and providers specific to your region.
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Page 1 of 2 Detecting food fraud In this project you will undertake the role of an analyst commissioned to test food products for suspected fraud. You will devise a method for performing ‘consumer tests’ on a food product to check the concentration or identity of a core ingredient. You will need to test several brands and a range of prices to compare value for money and produce a report of your evidence and conclusions. Getting started Do some research to find out about food fraud in the news. You could research some of the examples listed under Famous food scams below right. You will need to select a number of different food products to test and devise a method for each one. Select some of the Determine the concentration of several brands of vinegar over a range of prices and compare their value for money. Things to think about How accurate are the news reports you have read? Are ‘value’ brands actually good value? How do your results compare to the ingredients listed on the packaging? How many samples of each product will you test to reach a confident conclusion? Determine the percentage of cocoa solids and/or cocoa butter in various brands of chocolate. Determine whether a sample of olive oil has been adulterated with other vegetable oils. Research the differences between various vegetable oils and ways to measure these differences by chemical analysis, such as ‘saponification value’ and ‘iodine value’. Determine if wine has been contaminated with diethylene glycol. Find out the properties of diethylene glycol (2,2-dihydroxyethoxyethane) and devise ways to detect it in 10% aqueous ethanol (roughly equivalent to wine). Your tests must be able to detect a diethylene glycol concentration of about 1% and distinguish between diethylene glycol and other compounds that one would expect to find in wine. Click to edit project description Determine the type of fish used in a fish product. “Fish Fingers: 100% cod” says the label, but cod is increasingly expensive, who would know if an unscrupulous manufacturer were to substitute a cheaper fish? The answer lies in DNA. Find out about electrophoresis, and how it is used to establish biological identity. You will also need to learn how to extract DNA from a biological sample. Then investigate unknown samples provided by your teacher. Some of these should be a single fish, others a mixture. Your task is to detect which is which. Useful resources You should make contact with professional scientists who can advise you about the methods you might use and show you the instrumental techniques they use themselves. Starting points could include the Food Standards Agency, Trading Standards and public analysts. Famous food scams 1981 – Adulterated olive oil killed over 400 people in Spain 1985 – Several Austrian wine producers added ‘antifreeze’ to sweeten their wine 2004 – Specially purified water turned out to be bottled tap water and contained a suspected carcinogen (cancer-causing chemical) 2013 – DNA testing showed that several processed beef products contained horse meat