Food Authenticity

Food Authenticity & Brand Protection

Ensuring authenticity, enhancing supply chain integrity, protecting your brand.

Food Authenticity

Especially within the EU there are many examples of protected products of designated origin (PDO-Product of Designated Origin), to name a few, specific brands of cheese e.g. mozzarella, marzipan, wine, beer, sausage, fish and more. These brands are looking for ways to protect their unique PDO If the products of different regions are well known, defined and have specific markers, it is possible to use a targeted MS approach for this analysis. For new products or regions gaining PDO certification, a different approach is required called ‘unknown and untargeted screening’; both workflows can be solved by Bruker Mass Spectrometry products. 

Automated high-resolution 1H-NMR spectroscopy, combined with multivariate statistical chemometrics, provides unique "all-in-one" capabilities for food authenticity control and brand protection. 


NMR is targeted and non-targeted likewise. The technique is able to simultaneously observe hundreds of components in the food and due to its high reproducibility acquire a so-called fingerprint of the samples, allowing targeted quantification of specific marker components, as well as statistics-based fingerprinting for nontargeted detection of admixtures and determination of origin - all within the same experimental run.

Adulteration Screening

Display of FT-NIR reference spectra in a conformity test method (green) with spectra detected as outliers (blue).

Maintaining brand reputation and product quality has led to increased focus on qualifying raw materials and ingredients used in food production. In addition to traditional quality parameters, detection of adulterants plays a critical role in ensuring food safety and quality. The USP (US Pharmacopeial Convention) Food Fraud Database currently lists hundreds of incidents of economically motivated adulteration (EMA), substitution, counterfeiting or mislabeling of food products, such as wine, cheese, olive oil and milk powder and some prominent adulterants e.g. melamine.

FT-NIR spectroscopy offers a valuable tool for screening almost any raw material with an excellent cost-benefit ratio and unrivaled ease-of-use. The high information content of NIR spectra provides a fingerprint of the complete sample. Comparing the spectra of the incoming raw materials with those measured using samples of known quality permits a non-targeted screening of adulterants or contaminants within the detection limits. If a material is tested positive on adulteration by FT-NIR, further investigations with complementary analytical methods like NMR or MS can be carried out to determine the exact identity of the adulterant.

The NMR measures the spectra which contains hundreds of signals and reflects the fingerprinting of the tested food product. It allows targeted quantification of specific marker components, as well as statistics-based fingerprinting for nontargeted detection of adulterants - all within the same experimental run. In case of honey, as an example, a targeted analysis of up to 60 markers is applied to verify for the presence of sugar syrup, which is considered an adulteration.   

Adulteration of food has existed for many years. In most cases the aim is to lower the cost of raw materials and increase profit. Without proper screening it is difficult to pinpoint this and impossible to bring the fraudsters to court. Newly developed technologies make it much easier to detect adulteration. High Resolution QTOF systems are pushing the detection limits down and new Ion Mobility MS systems are able to increase separation, Both technologies will give more possibilities to distinguish different food additions and on lower addition levels.

Related Videos

The authenticity of the food is of growing concern. Bruker`s NMR-based FoodScreener can ensure retailers and food producers the quality and authenticity of the food product before they go on the market.


To facilitate the rapid identification of fraudulent honey, Peter Awram, a second-generation beekeeper at Worker Bee Honey Co., the biggest beekeeping company in British Columbia, founded True Honey Buzz which has created a database of authentic honey samples.

The Wine-Profiling 4.0 method, which is under ISO17025 accreditation, helps wine associations, companies, as well as official and commercial laboratories to detect and prevent adulteration.