Products tested

Meat, fish & seafood, eggs

Meat, fish & seafood, eggs Meat, fish & seafood, eggs Meat, fish & seafood, eggs

Why test it?

Food derived from animals is a sensitive topic. On one hand, meat consumption is rising every year with increasing economical wealth in developing countries. On the other hand, vegetarian or vegan diets are getting more popular creating important new markets, because challenges such as animal welfare, climate change and food scandals are major issues in a world with globalized food supply chains.

For the conscious consumer of animal products, it is not only important to be sure that the purchased product is what it declares to be (keyword: horsemeat scandal), but also where the source animal was born, raised and slaughtered, what it was fed with and how it was treated.

Apart from quality factors concerning the meat, fish or eggs themselves, ecological principles such as short transport from local breeding sites which produces less CO2 emissions and has less risk of supply chain disruptions would also influence consumer’s behaviour and therefore purchasing habits. There are many arguments in favour of consuming from local farmers as in one country the regulations may either be not as strict or as controlled as in another, let alone - when it comes to fish and seafood - the declining situation of the world’s oceans and the different approaches to this topic in different regions.

For strict followers of vegan diet on the other hand, it can be of high interest to be sure that a product does not contain any animal derived ingredient whatsoever.

When it comes to animal products, consumers – more than in other food categories – prefer local, regional or at least national products over others for reasons such as locality-related quality or environmental factors such as sustainability. Some regions in the world might also be connected to negative values such as poor animal welfare conditions or mix-up allegations in big slaughterhouses.

There are comprehensive labelling requirements for meat, fish and eggs with a number of quality labels and seals. But how can someone be sure to really get what they intend to buy? How can one be sure, that they don´t indirectly support the the deterioration of the marine ecosystems by buying fish from illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing? How is it possible to establish and maintain consumer trust when manipulation can be very diverse and goes beyond false information about the origin of a product?

Isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) can help answer questions about the geographic origin and authenticity of your animal products at all points of the supply chain.

By determining and interpreting the stable isotope ratios of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, hydrogen and oxygen of any animal product, the so-called isotope fingerprint (consisting of all five ratios) is established which is characteristic for the sample and can be compared to reference data from reference samples from different regions or to a data base.

To achieve high geographical resolution and credible results, we use our global database, as well as our expertise and know-how to provide advanced customized origin testing by including more parameters. We can also source reference samples from specific regions worldwide on demand to provide analytical testing evidence for product claims or questions such as suspected (not declared) origin, feeding scheme, organic/conventional etc.

If there might be an unknown factor of differentiation, for example different qualities of lots and sublots, untargeted fingerprinting of the products with one or more analytical methods of our portfolio can be applied in order to identify differences and provide useful information for further investigation of such inconsistencies.

Analysis of stable isotopes can serve as an attractive method for the analytical assurance of organic products. Animals and fish sold as “organic” food are not allowed to have certain feed and/or the feed has to correspond to the respective claim (e.g. grass-fed cows). The isotopic ratios of the bio-elements of meat/fish are influenced by the feed of the animal and can therefore serve as an indicator of organic production.

Species substitution especially in end products is very common, both for meat and fish. To detect (partial) substitution of the named source animal by another, identification of these species can be a supporting analytical method of choice.

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