• Food authenticity testing part 1: The role of analysis, which now covers the role of analytical testing within the context of an overall supply chain assurance strategy.
Analytical testing is a valuable tool in the armoury to assure food authenticity but cannot be used to identify every type of food fraud. It is only one part of an overall strategy to mitigate fraud risk.
Many modern tests are based upon comparing a pattern of measured values in the test sample with patterns from a database of authentic samples. Interpretation is highly dependent on the robustness of the database, and whether it includes all possible authentic variables and sample types. This information may not be released by the laboratory. Interpretation of results is rarely clear-cut, and analytical results are often used to inform and target further investigation (such as unannounced audits or mass-balance checks) rather than for making a compliance decision.
This paper describes where testing can and cannot be used, and highlights generic issues relating to interpreting food authenticity testing results.
• Food authenticity testing part 2: Analytical techniques, which gives describes specific analytical techniques, their applications, strengths and weaknesses.
This paper describes the principles, different configurations, applications, strengths and limitations of some of the more common analytical techniques used in food authenticity testing:
• Mass spectrometry
• Stable isotope mass spectrometry
• DNA analysis
• Nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry
Generic strengths and limitations of food authenticity test methods, particularly those relating to methods comparing against reference databases of authentic samples, are discussed in “Food authenticity testing: The role of analysis”. It also describes the difference between targeted and untargeted analysis.