University of Copenhagen: a new method reveals whether a potato is organic or not (IT)


Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have developed a new approach that helps public agencies and commercial interests combat fraudulently-labelled organic foods. By looking at how organic plants are fertilised, the method provides a deeper, more accurate portrayal of whether eco-labelled produce is indeed organic. According to experts, imported organic fruits and vegetables are susceptible to food fraud.

Increased consumer demand and higher profits for producers has made organic foods susceptible to food fraud. Danish food controls are stringent and Denmark is among few European countries to have nationally controlled organic foods. However, controls vary in the food exporting nations from which many of foods are sourced. “While a major eco-labelling scandal has yet to occur in Denmark, we often forget that our diet is sourced globally, and that our foods are often imported from countries where problems have been documented. For example, in southern Europe, where a large quantity of organic fruits and vegetables are sourced," according to Assistant Professor Kristian Holst Laursen, who has been developing food fraud detection methods for the past decade.

Laursen heads a research group in the field of plant nutrients and food quality at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. The group has just developed an analytical method that can inform public agencies and importers whether eco-labelled fruits and vegetables are indeed organic.

"Our method can be used to distinguish organic vegetables from conventionally farmed produce by looking at how plants have been fertilised," says Laursen. He adds that the scope of tomatoes, potatoes and apples and other produce that fraudulently receive eco-labels is unknown as there has never been an examination of the fertilisers used.
The new method focuses on the isotope signature in a plant by isolating sulfate, a chemical compound that can reveal how a particular plant was grown. Humans, animals and plants all have isotope signatures that provide information about the environment in which we live and how we live – diets included.

The full article can be downloaded HERE

Source: The Crop Site