FAKE food products are put under the Forensic microscope

By Chloe Ryan

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food, Pasteurization, Milk

Food authenticity crime, where substandard or fake products are sold as premium or regional specialities, is on the rise. According to Genetic ID, sister division of Cert-ID Europe and FoodChain Europe, it is being asked to carry out tests to check authenticity more frequently.

"Ther​e has been an increase in food crime as well as global sourcing and, as a result, both manufacturers and retailers are looking for testing methods to validate the authenticity of their products,"​ says technical manager Konstantin Rizos. The FSA put the cost of food fraud in the UK in 2009 at £7bn a year.

"We had a case where a client wanted to be sure premium strawberries were really from Poland and not from China," ​says Rizos. "Isotope analysis was a big help for him because we could demonstrate that his strawberries came from Poland."

Genetic ID also uses DNA testing to verify whether a fish labelled as one species is in fact a cheaper species, or beef is the breed claimed. "Advanced PCR testing can authenticate fish species and check country of origin,"​ says Rizos.

Eurofins has recently expanded its facility in Nantes, France and has the capacity to analyse up to one million samples per year. The site is renowned for its expertise in isotopic analysis to check for the adulteration of fruit juices, alcoholic beverages and related products.

"Some countries are always a little problematic to deal with and any products from China are always worth looking into in detail,"​ says Rizos. But, closer to home, fraud occurs with honeys containing other sugars, or juices made from concentrates being sold as fresh. "Price pressure is the main reason,"​ says Rizos. "We have organic products where chemical fertilisers are used, or we have sheep's cheese where cow's milk is added, so it is really a very wide field."

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