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Food ingredients authentication is a matter of pressing concern to both the consumers and manufacturers alike. Fraudsters have increased their ingenuity and will go to that extra step to make easy money.

Consumers all over the globe are aware of the fraudsters and are increasingly demanding for reassurance on the original content of their food. It is evident that food manufacturers must confirm the authenticity and point of origin of food products that they use as well as the components. The food industry is facing a lot of challenges like fraudulent or deceptive practices such as food contamination. Protecting consumer rights is crucial since ingesting fraud food can lead to severe casualties. Here you will learn about methods of authentication of food ingredients.

Visual Inspection

A visual inspection technique might not be very reliable, but a trained professional can look at a food sample and conclude whether it is contaminated or not. The specialist can also view the food processing plant and spot any irregularities in the food ingredients based on the waste left at the plant. The specialist can also use other various techniques to point out irregularities at the plant. Such methods include identifying the distinctive odors at the plant or on the food samples. In case of meat products, they can look at the different bone structures left behind as waste or color of the flesh.

Immunology

Immunology involves testing food product with antibodies against species-specific proteins. This tactic is common than you would think and is available from commercial laboratories. Immunology involves either of the two primary processes

  • ELISA testing, this is a well-known format of ‘wet-lab’ type analytic biochemistry essay.
  • Agar gel immunodiffusion which is simple to perform.

All these tests apply to cooked, canned and raw meat products.

Molecular Testing

In meat food products there are several commercial molecular tests available that will positively and identify and quantify species from DNA. Different detection kits do an excellent job like the Thermo Scientific RapidFinde Meat ID Detection Kits. These kits detect target species mitochondrial DNA by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). These assays have both the benefit of being valid for a wide variety of essential food matrices and are suitable for low and high throughput operating plants. These kits produce results which show not only the presence of contamination but also the quantity of contamination present.

Detecting simple sequence repeats (SSR) in genetic material including meat is another molecular assay. The technique is mostly used to detect pork contamination. The contamination may be on premium wild boar products such as sausages and pâtés. Researchers constructed the SSR statistical probabilities from a suitable reference population. Then the assessment of SSR presence in various meat products was conducted.

Proteomic Testing

One useful tool for authenticating food ingredients to implement, proteomic testing lies in the top choices. Proteomic testing works by looking at species-specific proteins which have a mass spectrometric protein analysis. Various target approaches can be used to possibly quantitate adulteration. Such processes include multiple reaction monitoring, where the detection limits are taken low enough for the aim of identifying hydrolyzed animal protein. Such animal proteins used to retain water in poultry products. Proteomic analysis has proven to be a good determinant of fish species in seafood.

Use of Chromatography

Screens of sugars are used by chromatography to assess the authenticity of soluble foods like coffee against set specifications. The set specifications help to certify the quality and purity of soluble coffee powder as per the results of the chromatography test. This test provides a powerful tool to detect possible adulterations in, soluble food ingredients.

DNA Testing

DNA testing is considered as the basis for identity testing for biological origin. Its testing methods can be used to test ingredients for a plant, animal, fungi, or bacterial contamination.

DNA testing can be perceived as the most accurate, sensitive, and specific method of ingredient authentication.  Most scientists are embracing the use of DNA in ingredient identification. DNA can be used to produce conclusive and reliable ingredient authentication results which are paramount for developing safe and high-quality natural products.

Oil Authentication

There are numerous variations of oils, some from plants and fat from animals, authentication is important to make sure you are using the right product. Most oils are derived from plants, and they contain fatty acids and sterol profile which are useful since they indicate their source. When testing the authenticity of plant oil, the presence of the ‘wrong’ fatty acid or sterol profile is a clear indication of substitution or adulteration. For animal fat such as tallow and lard, the situation is equally true.

It is easy to assure clients of quality oil or show them evidence of contamination. This is true when you understand the markers that indicate higher levels of refining or cheaper oils that can be seen in authenticity investigations.

Most food manufacturing companies have nothing to fear provided the stick to the set standards and practice quality production. Food contamination or substitution can easily be detected especially with modern technology, and authentication is also quickly done too.

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