Contributions of Chemistry to Sustainable
Freie Universitat Berlin, August 1999
Thursday August 12, 9:00 - 13:00
Inorganic Chemistry Lecture Hall
Analytical Chemistry Applied to Determining the Authenticity
Elke Anklam, Prof. Dr., European Commission, DG Joint Research
Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Food Products
and Consumer Goods Unit, I-21020 Ispra, ITALY, Email: [email protected]
The adulteration of food products is not a new event. When food became
a traded commodity, the potential for fraud became into being. The
earliest historical record concerning food refers to issues of food
authenticity. However, the means of adulteration have become much
more sophisticated in the recent years. Therefore, also authenticity
proof has become more challenging for the analysts. The wide range
of products deriving from different geographical origins being processed
in many different ways makes the analytical work sometimes very difficult.
Consumers expect consistent high quality food, at a reasonable price.
The food quality is an important factor in the acceptance, attraction
and purchase of a product by the public. Regulations require food
quality control to prevent adulteration and frauds such as mislabelling
(i.e. changing the geographical origin), sugaring or blending of products,
addition of harmful ingredients and additives to maintain the high
standards expected. There is a strong need for reliable and validated
methods to ensure compliance with such regulation and to protect the
interests of the consumer.
Many analytical techniques (e.g. stable isotope analysis by mass spectrometry
or nuclear magnetic resonance, infrared spectroscopy, chromatography,
polymerase chain reaction technique for DNA analysis, immunochemical
methods) together with statistical data evaluation are available today
for authenticity proof of food products. In principle, two strategies
can be applied to detect adulteration: a) fundamental (deductive)
approach and b) empirical (inductive) approach.
Selected examples regarding food authenticity/adulteration will be
chosen and presented in more detail.