New Technique Helps Detect Impurities in Ground Beef

by Hannah Joy on  November 29, 2017 at 1:19 PM Diet & Nutrition News
RSS Email Print This Page Comment bookmark
Font : A-A+

A new innovative technique developed helps identify unwanted animal products or impurities in ground beef, reveals a new study at the University of British Columbia.
New Technique Helps Detect Impurities in Ground Beef
New Technique Helps Detect Impurities in Ground Beef

Food science students led by professor Xiaonan Lu used a laser-equipped spectrometer and statistical analysis to determine with 99 percent accuracy whether ground beef samples included other animal parts. They were able to say with 80 percent accuracy which animal parts were used, and in what concentration.

Show Full Article


Their new method can accomplish all of this in less than five minutes, which makes it a potentially transformative food inspection tool for government and industry.

"By using this innovative technique, the detection of food fraud can be simpler, faster and easier," said the study's lead author Yaxi Hu, a PhD candidate in UBC's faculty of land and food systems.

Food fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of food products for economic gain. When producers hold an excess supply of meat or byproducts for which there is relatively little market demand, the potential exists for unscrupulous operators to try to pass those products off as something else.

In the past five years, high-profile scandals in the U.K., Ireland, and Russia have seen lamb, chicken and even rat meat substituted for higher-quality meat products.

DNA testing has proven efficient and accurate in identifying foreign species in meat products, but what DNA testing cannot do is identify offal--hearts, livers, kidneys and stomachs mixed in with meat of the same species.

To establish their method, the UBC researchers aimed a spectrometer at meat samples they had prepared by grinding together beef and offal from local supermarkets at various concentrations. Because animal products all have different chemical compositions, their molecules absorb and scatter energy from the spectrometer's laser in different ways.

The spectrometer captures these signals or spectra to produce an "image" of each substance. These spectral images can serve as a library for comparison with other samples.

Whether a meat sample is authentic or adulterated with offal can be determined by comparing its spectral image with the pre-established library, to see if there's a match.

The method improves on existing techniques that are more complicated and time-consuming. For example, a technique known as liquid chromatography works well, but it requires meat samples to be liquefied with solvents before testing, which can take more than an hour.

"The instrumentation for this technique is not that complex," Hu said. "So, if government or industry wants to do some rapid screening, they don't need to find highly trained personnel to conduct the experiment."

All they would need is a spectrometer and user-friendly software that connects to a robust library of spectral images. As more types of meat and offal were analyzed and their results stored, the technique would become even more accurate.

The researchers' ultimate goal is to create an affordable smart device that could be used by consumers at home for the authentication of different food products, much like the pregnancy-test strip.



Source: Eurekalert

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions

News A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

News Category

News Archive