Food Quality Magazine July 2016 - Page 10

ISSUE 03 | JULY 2016 Food Quality Magazine olive oil harvest in Italy, during which 222,000 metric tons of valuable Italian olive oil was produced. In the same period, the Italians themselves consumed 521,000 MT, and still managed to export 208,000 MT (Figure 6). It is very obvious that the figures do not tally. One may say that the difference is explained through imports. However, in that period the Italians imported less than 100,000 MT of olive oil. So there is a significant discrepancy, which may be the result of fraud in the form of mislabeling or the addition of lower quality oils. Price surges during periods of low supply give further incentive to fraudsters. As it can be clearly seen in Figure 7, during the poor harvest season 2014/2015, the prices for olive oil increased significantly. Detection Methods There are still a number of fraudulent food ingredients which can be detected by conventional technologies and even using household tools. Sawdust added to spices, red clay or brick dust added to paprika, and yellow clay added to turmeric can be identified with a common light microscope. The addition of starch to spices or milk can be identified by adding iodine; starch is present if the resulting solution turns blue. Even the addition of dried and ground cow dung to some ground spices can be detected using a glass of lukewarm water – you will literally smell the difference. However, with food fraud being a very lucrative enterprise, fraudsters often go to the extremes to fake their products with more and more sophisticated methods. How can these sophisticated frauds be uncovered? With even more sophisticated analytical methods. For fluid milk, the deployment of targeted and non-targeted mid-Infrared (IR) spectrometry presented a challenge for fraudsters as anything from melamine to urea added at economically motivating levels could be detected20. Figure 6. Production, Italian consumption and export of Italian olive oil 2014/2015 Figure 7. Production vs. price for extra virgin olive oil over time More recent developments have coupled these “non-targeted” approaches with high resolution mass spectrometry. Non-targeted analytical approaches involve the combination of lab-based methods with statistical software to determine if a sample falls within an expected set of parameters. This technology is very sensitive and enables detection of a wide range of adulterants as well as the identification of even small quantities of adulterants. It typically works using a learning approach: the system is trained using authentic reference samples as well as adulterated samples. Measuring a multitude of parameters, a profile Heggum, C., & Holroyd, S. (2011). Integrated Supply Chain Management (Publication No. 449). Retrieved May 31, 2016, from 20 10