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IEH is at the forefront of efforts to safeguard the food supply

Food fraud is as old as the history of food commerce.

It can be divided into the following categories: 

 

Economic Adulteration: At least one component of the product has been substituted, usually to levels that increase the profit margin. In some cases the substituted ingredient can be harmful to humans or animals. 

Incidental Adulteration: The product contains an undeclared ingredient which has been added by mistake or through sloppy production practices. 

Intentional Misbranding: The best examples are misrepresenting products as organic, GMO free, or gluten free. 

Counterfeit: All aspects of a given product are replicated, with special attention to packaging. 

Product Tampering: When products are intentionally tampered with to cause harm to consumers and/or brand names. 



Through our partnerships with food companies, IEH is at the forefront of efforts to safeguard the food supply. Our team of scientists can develop and validate appropriate methods quickly and use them to investigate an issue. IEH has developed and uses a variety of tools for food authentication. These include:

  • Forensic examination of food packaging

  • DNA sequencing and DNA sequence based identification of animal and plant based food components

  • Antigen-Antibody based detection and quantification of food components

  • Analytical chemistry methods to detect and quantify chemical, biochemical, and pharmaceutical components of foods

  • Use of isotopes, NMR, spectroscopy, and microscopy for forensic analysis of foods

  • Methods to differentiate between organic and non-organic foods

  • Methods to determine the geographic origin of foods

  • Botanical identification and speciation

  • Animal identification and speciation

  • Insect identification

  • Microbial identification

  • Comparison of plastics, metals, wood, ceramics, and glass materials