Spectroscopic and Isotopic Fingerprinting

Organic vs non Organic

Sub-strand 3: Spectroscopic and Isotopic Fingerprinting towards Improved Traceability

The safety and quality of food are major concerns in today’s society. Consumers, producers, and governments want to ensure that the food being produced, traded and consumed is of the highest quality and free from fraud. Food mis-labelling leads to mistrust in the food supply chain. Consumers lose confidence in the quality of the food they purchase, producers may face economic challenges or even gain unfair economic advantages, and governments are faced with reassuring the public and safeguarding the local economy.

For these reasons, it is important to have a system in place that ensures food authenticity and traceability. Analytical techniques such as infrared spectroscopy (IR) and isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) have been used to address these issues in a variety of food commodities, such as dairy and animal products, olive oil and wine, in order to establish, for instance, whether a product has been produced locally or whether it originated from another country.

The aims of Sub-strand 3 are:

  • To establish essential background data primarily for the island of Ireland of components (e.g. water) that may leave a distinct fingerprint within a food commodity;
  • To further develop the use of the IR and IRMS techniques in food authenticity and traceability to enable a wider application of these techniques in the food sector to address questions such as the differentiation between conventional and organic production systems. Analytical measurements are performed by the Ashtown Food Research Centre of Teagasc, and the Stable Isotope Facility at Queen’s University Belfast.

Current Projects being undertaken by Sub-strand 3 are:

For further information, please contact ASSET.