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Food integrity & authenticity

With complex food supply chains, it is becoming ever more difficult for food business operators to have confidence that the products they are buying and selling are exactly as they are claimed. Food integrity issues can happen due to incidental contamination or through economically motivated substitution as seen during the horsemeat scandal which affected a wide range of businesses across Europe in 2013.

Although the horsemeat scandal wasn’t a food safety issue, adulteration of foods can have dire consequences. One of the worst examples of this was with the Melamine adulteration scandal which resulted in the deaths of six infants.

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Access to technical experts

The team at ALS is experienced in investigative work into food products and ingredients to ensure that they are exactly as claimed. With access to both DNA and Chemical based methods and software tools to categorise and interpret result, ALS is ready to help you with your Authenticity based problems.

Working at ALS

Analytical technologies

ALS has access to a wide range of chemical and DNA based methods to determine the nature of food products and ingredients, these include: 

  • PCR and NGS for species identification 
  • IRMS (SIRA) and ICP-MS techniques which are useful for identifying the orifin of products 
  • NMR for detailed breakdown of components 
  • FT-IR and NIR for rapid spectroscopic screening 
  • HPLC, GC, and MS for specific targeted compounds 

With these techniques ALS can investigate foods using a combination of targeted and non-targeted analysis. 

DNA methods

ALS is a global leader in DNA analysis, from our centre of excellence in Portugal, ALS is able to identify the species present in a wide range of products. PCR methods are used for targeted identification and are very sensitive. A Typical application would be looking for the presence of pork in a halal product, or the detection of horsemeat in a beef product. Identification of fish species via sequencing is invaluable given the scale of adulteration of white fish.

ALS also has access to NGS methods, using NGS a non-targeted approach can be used, rather than asking the question “Does this contain any x?” we can ask “What is in this?”. 

Isotope analysis

ALS can test food products for light stable isotopes, the ratio of different isotopes of Carbon, Nitrogen, Sulphur, Hydrogen, and Oxygen can give detail of exactly where a product originated. As provenance is of growing interest to consumers worldwide, it is important to be able to verify claims. ALS can also determine the Lead and Strontium isotopes in food as well as determining a wide spectrum of trace minerals, these can be used to give highly detailed information on origin and provenance.


NMR is one of the most powerful tools in chemical analysis. ALS with a number of industrial and academic partners is a global innovator in the field of benchtop NMR. These instruments are able to offer rapid profiling of products and are being used to verify the authenticity of high value goods such as Coffee, Herbs and Spices, Edible Oils, and Honey.

ALS offers a wide range of food testing services

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Food safety & quality testing

Our extensive industry experience and knowledge of the tests required ensures compliance to international regulations and standards. Our clients can have the confidence in the integrity of their results as ALS holds a variety of accreditations, certifications and relevant approvals.

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Technical experts

Our subject matter experts and technical teams are the core of our services, collaborating across the global network to deliver the right solutions to our clients.