• 6 Different Reasons for Food Analysis


6 Different Reasons for Food Analysis

Jan 31 2022

From protecting consumers to developing new products, food analysis is a multifaceted industry. Below, we spotlight some of the main reasons for food analysis and the advanced techniques and technologies used by scientists.  

  1. Meeting government and industry regulations

The food and beverage sector is strictly regulated by government and industry bodies. Food analysis helps everyone from ingredients suppliers to product manufacturers meet and maintain these standards. For example, in the USA peanut butter must contain at least 90% peanuts, a maximum of 10% added ingredients such as salt and sugar and have a total fat content of no more than 55%.

  1. Protecting consumers

Consumer protection is front of mind in the food and beverage sector. Analytical techniques are used to screen both ingredients and finished products before they hit consumer shelves. For example, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests can be used to detect foodborne pathogens and viruses in products such as lettuce. Laboratory tests are also carried out to detect toxins deposited by pesticides and herbicides, as well as traces of metal, wood, glass and other contaminants.

  1. Preventing food fraud

Food fraud is a global issue that affects consumers, product manufacturers and ingredients suppliers. The 2013 horse meat scandal is one of the most high-profile cases of food fraud, with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland initially detecting horse DNA in samples of frozen ready meals and burgers supposedly containing beef.

  1. Nutritional labelling

Nutritional labelling offers consumers in-depth information on the quality and content of food. Most countries require food manufacturers to publish standardised nutritional labels covering fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, sodium, sugars and protein. This information helps consumers make informed choices.

  1. Consistency and quality control

While consistency can vary for small-batch products, maintaining the same overall properties is a top priority for large-scale manufacturers. Frequent testing allows manufactures to meet the expectations of consumers and ultimately, drive profits and increase their market share. Tests are used to monitor everything from flavour and texture to natural sugar and starch concentrations, which can vary in products such as potatoes.

  1. Research and development

Food analysis is fundamental to research and development in the industry. For example, US-based company Beyond Meat relies on food analysis techniques to develop new plant-based beef products. The brand has established itself as a market leader and has forged partnerships with global brands such as KFC, Pizza Hut and Panda Express.

The cannabis industry is subject to especially strict regulations, with analytical techniques used to characterise both recreational and medicinal products. Find out more in ‘Cannabinoid Potency in Cannabis Oil and Medical Marijuana by GC-FID’.

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