Application of Isotopic Analysis for Food Authenticity and Traceability: Progress and Challenges

Zhang, Yimeng, Environmental Sciences - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Macko, Stephen, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia

With the development of the global food market, food authenticity has become the major concern for consumers. Building an effective food traceability system provides an approach for protecting regional brand, ensuring fair trade competition, and improving consumer confidence. There are several analytical techniques used for determining food authenticity include fluorescence spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, atomic absorption spectroscopy, gas chromatography mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, and isotope ratio mass spectrometry(IRMS). One of the most widely acceptable methods to provide information on the traceability of food is stable isotope ratio analysis, which generally includes various aspects of food productions. This paper reviews the principles of isotope analysis, outlines the requirements and the specific features of the technique in the area of food authentication and traceability, and surveys the applications of isotope analysis in different type of food production, and describes the progress of the development in techniques. It shows that stable isotope analysis has become a powerful tool for food authentication and traceability due to its advantages of high precision and efficiency. The recent progress of isotope analysis use in food authenticity and traceability is concentrated on three aspects: the food adulteration (e.g. juice, honey), the geographic origin traceability of food (e.g. olive oil, dairy productions), authenticity of organic food (e.g. beef, potatoes). The classical approaches investigating hydrogen, carbon and oxygen isotopes as well as strategies including other elements, such as nitrogen and sulfur, are reviewed. In addition, the limitations and future research directions of isotope analysis in food authenticity and traceability are proposed.

MA (Master of Arts)
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