Authenticity and quality of animal origin food investigated by stable-isotope ratio analysis


Correspondence to: Giuliana Vinci, Department of Management, Sapienza University of Rome, Via del Castro Laurenziano 9, 00161 Rome, Italy. E-mail:


Authentication of a food product is the procedure by which it is verified that the product matches the statements on the label, and that it conforms to what is established by regulations. This testing process includes analysis of the ingredients, determination of the geographical origin, and examination of the production methods. In particular, the use of rapid, effective and reliable analytical methods, when correctly applied to verify the authenticity and the traceability of the product, represents a valuable and irreplaceable tool for the authorities to carry out control functions. Tools and methodologies from scientific innovation and technological evolution can help to quickly locate particularly sophisticated frauds and adulterations. The feeding regime of livestock is a fundamental issue for the properties and safety of animal origin food, but this regime is often hidden from the consumer, making the zootechnical sector more prone to fraudulent practices. This review reports the results recently obtained in authentication of animal origin food by the application of stable-isotope ratio analysis, the most promising analytical technique in this field.© 2012 Society of Chemical Industry