German scientists have developed a new way to test foods labeled “organic” to determine if they actually are. Researchers from the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority and the Wuerzburg University have demonstrated a technology called a nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy can authenticate organically grown foods.
The technological development, detailed in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, could help prevent organic food fraud, the researchers said.
The scientists analyzed tomatoes grown in greenhouses and outdoors, with conventional or organic fertilizers, and found the technique was able to differentiate between the two. The researchers conclude that the test is a good starting point for the authentication of organically produced tomatoes, and its further refinements could root out other fraudulently labelled foods.
The demand for organic food is growing, with the global market estimated at nearly $63 billion — three times what it was a decade ago. But because organic food tends to coast up to twice as much as conventionally produced products, the risk for fraudulent labelling has also grown, the researchers noted.
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