Bia Analytic launches cumin, garlic and ginger food fraud tests

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Bia Analytical has revealed three new tests for cumin, garlic and ginger
Bia Analytical has revealed three new tests for cumin, garlic and ginger

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Food fraud tests to authenticate garlic, cumin and ginger have been launched by Irish food testing lab Bia Analytical.

The development follows further indications that handheld near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) is a powerful tool in detecting food fraud​, this time in relation to oregano, according to research published in the journal Food Chemistry.

Bia’s latest offering comes off the back of the launch of its paprika and turmeric authenticity tests and brings the team closer to its goal of 25 models by the end of 2021.

Belfast-based Bia guarantees a three-day turnaround time for all samples to help reduce food business’ exposure to the risk of food fraud.

As one of the world’s most popular spices, garlic is faced with supply chain issues that make it vulnerable to fraud. Crop yield reduction caused by poor weather conditions can be an incentive for fraudsters to include adulterants such as talc, maltodextrin or corn starch to bulk out the product.

Detecting adulterants

Using its laboratory-based testing method, Bia claimed it could detect these adulterants and more to help protect the industry from fraud.

Cumin, native to India and the Middle East can be adulterated with flours, starches and peanut/almond shells, presenting potential health and safety concerns for consumers allergic to these ingredients.

Bia offers a lab-based Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) method to detect economically motivated adulteration and to help identify issues in the cumin supply chain.

Finally, concerns around ginger include adulteration with spent ginger, flours and starch products.

Spectroscopy and chemometric analysis

Using similar methods as their paprika and turmeric models, Bia Analytical’s ginger test uses spectroscopy with chemometric analysis. This technique also allows for the detection of spent material – a method Bia claimed cannot be offered through DNA testing methods such as next-generation sequencing.

Studies have already shown NIR to be effective in detecting food fraud in Basmati rice and almonds, both potential targets for fraudsters.

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