Products tested

Sugars, syrups, sweeteners

Sugars, syrups, sweeteners Sugars, syrups, sweeteners Sugars, syrups, sweeteners

Why test it?

Sugar is present in many food products either because it is contained naturally and/or when sugar is added as sweetener to improve taste. Sweeteners include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), brown sugar, sugars from syrups and honey (for honey check out our honey section), and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices such as maple syrup, agave syrup, rice syrup and corn syrup.

Health and lifestyle trends have increased consumption and awareness for novel sugars such as coconut sugar, maple syrup and agave syrup as well as natural sugar alternatives such as xylitol, erythritol and stevia significantly in the last decade.

As diverse as there are the opinions and diet choices about sugar and its alternatives, as diverse are also the product claims around sweeteners which can be found on the market. “Sugar-free”, “only natural sugar”, “no added sugar” are just the most popular of many.

Special sugars, such as coconut sugar, maple or agave syrup are often declared to be “pure” or “100%” of a single kind. Adulteration of the sugars with other sugar types for economic gain are unfortunately quite common.

Based on different forms of photosynthesis, sugar containing plants can be differentiated in C3 (sugar beet, rice, most cereals, potatoes) and C4 (maize, sugar cane, millet) plants, a difference which can be detected by IRMS. With the help of isotope analysis a further differentiation of sugar beet from other C3 sugars can be made.

Many people are not aware that sugar is practically used in almost every processed food product. If this is not the case, it is often indicated as the very popular claim “no added sugar” or even “sugar-free”. How can one be sure, that no or only naturally derived sugar from the product itself is contained in the product? Also here IRMS can help using the difference between C3 and C4 plants.

Special: Authenticity of Maple syrup

The worlds demand of this 100% natural sweetener has been growing along with the risk of fraud, adulteration and mislabeling. The temptation of increasing the yield, the profit and satisfying the rising demand of the consumers leads to adulteration mainly by adding cane sugar or blending with corn syrup. The use of isotopic analysis as an authenticity test protects the consumers, the producers and the traders against fraud and adulteration. Complying with the official standard (AOAC 984.23), Imprint Analytics GmbH provides high quality accredited services which allow the detection of the adulteration of maple syrup with cane sugar and corn syrup. The analytical method comprises the carbon isotopic analysis of the maple syrup using Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS).

Xylitol is sugar alternative with increasing popularity in the last years. It is a sweetener made from natural plant-based raw materials. It looks and tastes like sugar and is just as sweet. It’s said to have positive properties for teeth and since it has little effect on blood sugar levels, it is particularly popular with diabetics. Imprint Analytics offers authenticity testing of xylitol indicating the source material and detecting adulterations, such as verifying birch xylitol vs. xylitol from sugar molasses, or tracing the provenance between Europe and China.

In many cases, the risk of adulteration does not come from a targeted ingredients substation or addition. It might be an unknown factor of differentiation, for example different qualities of lots and sublots, different blend or simply different recipe. In such cases, we can use untargeted fingerprinting of the products with one or more analytical methods of our portfolio, in order to identify differences and provide useful information for further investigation of such inconsistencies.

Isotope analysis plays a decisive role when it comes to traceability of batches in the areas of production, import and export. With retained samples, the identity of products can be verified independently of documents – a control sample is directly compared with an original reference sample, providing strong evidence of authenticity.

AOAC984.23Detection of added C4-sugar in maple syrup

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