With accurate labelling of food a growing concern for consumers and the food industry increasingly subject to scrutiny, testing to ensure products meet legislative and labelling requirements is essential to securing public confidence.
The correct identification of the species origin of animal products used in food, pharmaceuticals and animal feed is of particular importance given consumer interest in traceability and also the religious and ethical concerns for consumers who wish to avoid certain products.
Fera Science Limited has launched a new service – GelSpec – to help food manufacturers and retailers better understand their supply chain and address consumer concerns about the origin of animal bi-products.
Determining the species from which gelatine is derived has in the past been very difficult as the gelatine production process renders traditional DNA-based techniques redundant.
GelSpec, the result of 5 years of development and in-house validation on a range of foods and ingredients, uses state of the art technology and a unique database to determine the identity of the species from which the gelatine is derived. It allows food producers to be confident in their labelling and ensure that their products do not compromise consumer religious concerns such as those relating to Halal and Kosher. GelSpec identifies the origin of gelatine (bovid or porcine) using high-resolution mass spectrometry by detecting minute differences in the amino acid sequence of the gelatine protein and comparing with an extensive database built up over many years.
The benefits of the new service for manufacturers and suppliers include:
· Building consumer trust with accurate product labelling
· Offering greater transparency to prevent accidental and fraudulent blending of meat and animal products from different species
· Vital for the growing Halal and Kosher markets for certification
Paul Brereton, Head of Agri-food research at Fera Science, said: “Gelatine can be prepared from the skin and bone material of a number of animal species, and is an important component of food, beverage and pharmaceutical products. The ability to identify ingredients in a fragmented and complex supply chain can be difficult, GelSpec is a major step forward that will help manufacturers and retailers ensure the integrity of gelatin containing components in their supply chains. With today’s consumers wanting to know not only what is in their food but also how it is produced the results of GelSpec will strengthen public trust in the integrity of the food supply".