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Picarro, IsoForensics Unveil New Milk Origin Verification Solution

FBR Staff Writer Published 14 April 2010

Picarro and IsoForensics have developed new Milk Origin Verification Solution (MOVS) for the food and beverage industry. The duo claim that, with this system, food companies can quickly validate the geographic origins of wholesale milk purchases, and it is both cost effective and easy to use.

Food fraud impacts food safety and traceability, truth-in-labeling, and brand security for numerous food companies. According to the two firms, food companies are checking competitors' products for ingredient authenticity.

MOVS joins Picarro's portfolio of food fraud detection applications. The companies said that this new system is based on stable isotopes that provide a molecular 'fingerprint', which can be used to identify where milk was produced.

Food companies can purchase Picarro's Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy (CRDS) stable isotope analyzer to assign isotope ratios to milk samples, and then reference the sample ratios against an isotope fingerprint database developed by IsoForensics and Purdue University. The output will be a statistical assessment of the likely origins of milk samples. Picarro will be the lead sales contact for MOVS.

The makers further claim that these samples will not need to be sent to a lab for testing. IsoForensics said that MOVS will be the first in its planned suite of food origin verification systems to be developed for use in combination with Picarro's analyzer, and expects to partner with industry organizations to create known isotopic standards as part of a broad effort to institute extensive food authenticity testing in the US and rest of the world.

James Ehleringer, CEO of IsoForensics, said: With MOVS, a 'Wisconsin cheddar' cheese company can independently screen their supply chain for milk that does not come from Wisconsin. They can verify milk origin on a regular basis without disrupting production.

Michael Woelk, CEO of Picarro, said: Food fraud is multi-billion dollar economic problem that also affects families, including mine, at the breakfast table every morning. By coupling Picarro's revolutionary CRDS technology to IsoForensics' world class isotope data library, we're making complex region-of-origin assessments push-button simple.

“This type of solution will enable stable isotope analysis to become routine throughout the complex global food supply network.

Picarro is based in Sunnyvale, California. The company makes precision and gas analyzers for point of origin testing. The company's applications are used to detect adulteration in honey, chocolate, edible oils, fruit juices and to detect bioplastics content.

IsoForensics, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, operates in the domain of forensic isotopic analysis. The company is focused on interpreting stable isotope composition of biological and synthetic materials in order to determine geographic origins and quantify adulteration.