How to prevent organic food fraud

Aug 27, 2014
How to prevent organic food fraud

A growing number of consumers are willing to pay a premium for fruits, vegetables and other foods labelled "organic", but whether they're getting what the label claims is another matter. Now scientists studying conventional and organic tomatoes are devising a new way to make sure farms are labelling their produce appropriately. Their report, which appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, could help prevent organic food fraud.

Researchers from the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority and the Wuerzburg University note that the demand for organic food is growing at a rapid clip. Its global market value nearly tripled between 2002 and 2011, when it reached $62.8 billion. But because can fetch prices often twice as high as conventionally produced , the risk for fraudulent labelling has grown just as fast. However, figuring out whether a fruit or vegetable was grown under organic conditions is fraught with complications. Currently, the most reliable authentication technique analyzes the stable isotope composition of nitrogen, but it is not fool-proof. Monika Hohmann and her colleagues decided to take a stab at developing a new method.

They looked to a technique called nuclear , which has been used to authenticate foods, including honey and olive oil. They analyzed tomatoes grown in greenhouses and outdoors, with conventional or organic fertilizers. Their data showed a trend toward differentiation of organic and conventional produce. The researchers conclude that the test is a good starting point for the authentication of organically produced tomatoes, and its further refinement could help root out fraudulently labelled foods.

Explore further: Eating organic food doesn't lower your overall risk of cancer, study says

More information: "1H NMR Profiling as an Approach To Differentiate Conventionally and Organically Grown Tomatoes" J. Agric. Food Chem., 2014, 62 (33), pp 8530–8540. DOI: 10.1021/jf502113r

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Review: Organic foods may be healthier

Jul 16, 2014

(HealthDay)—Organic produce and grains contain more protective antioxidants, less pesticide residue, and lower levels of the toxic metal cadmium than food raised in traditional ways, according to a new ...

Recommended for you

Researchers create designer 'barrel' proteins

13 hours ago

Proteins are long linear molecules that fold up to form well-defined 3D shapes. These 3D molecular architectures are essential for biological functions such as the elasticity of skin, the digestion of food, ...

World's fastest manufacture of battery electrodes

19 hours ago

New world record: Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) increased the manufacturing speed of electrode foils coated batch-wise by a factor of three – to 100 meters per minute. This was ...

User comments : 0