An efficient and low-cost approach to detecting food fraud

strawberries (pexels pixabay)

Fraudulent practices in food production, especially false claims of geographical origin, cause billions of dollars in economic damage every year. Plant scientists at the University of Basel have developed a model to determine the origin of food in an efficient and low-cost manner.

The model developed by the researchers is of interest to food forensics officials or investigating authorities when it comes to the origin of confiscated drugs, for example, as well as to private forensic institutes that inspect food or serve as expert witnesses in court. NGOs such as WWF or Greenpeace are also interested – especially with regard to determining the origin of illegally logged timber – as is the food industry, which suffers reputational damage due to the sale of products that may have been falsely declared.

Prof. Ansgar Kahmen and his team at the Department of Environmental Sciences, Botany of the University of Basel carried out this research. Ansgar Kahmen is a member of the Swiss Plant Science Web.

Reference publication
Florian Cueni, Daniel B. Nelson, Markus Boner, Ansgar Kahmen
Using plant physiological stable oxygen isotope models to counter food fraud.
Scientific Reports (2021), doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-96722-9

UniBasel News, article in English, Artikel auf Deutsch.