Authenticity of foods is a matter of pressing concern to consumers and manufacturers alike. The supply chain is complex and the ingenuity of the fraudsters knows no bounds, so the industry must be on its guard to face the next issue that comes along. Challenges can come from unexpected sources and addressing these problems may require a multi-disciplinary analytical approach.

Using the most appropriate techniques including DNA testing, chromatography, microscopy, RSSL can support your due diligence testing, protecting you from fraud and negligence in your supply chain and helping ensure you are complying with relevant legislation.

We are recognised as a Centre of Expertise in food authenticity testing by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and can authenticate a wide range of ingredients including:-


Species Identification (Contamination, Adulteration)

RSSL’s DNA testing for meat covers 20 species of meat, 50 species of fish. We offer a variety of methods for the semi-quantitative and qualitative detection of animal species by DNA analysis by Real-time PCR and PCR/RFLP. For key species (like horse, pig, goat, sheep) our tests detect single copy nuclear DNA targets. This enables us with the best possible trueness to test against the 1% threshold adopted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to distinguish between adventitious contamination and deliberate adulteration of meats.

Meat identification available:-

Buffalo, Dog, Hare, Mouse, Rat, Turkey, Cat, Duck, Horse, Ostrich, Red Deer, Chicken, Fallow, Deer, Human, Pig, Roe, Deer, Cow, Goat, Kangaroo, Rabbit and Sheep

Fish species identification:-

Brill, Cod (Atlantic), Cod (Pacific), Dab, Eel, European Flounder, Haddock, Hake (European), Halibut, Hoki, Mackerel, Atlantic Pilchard (European), Plaice (European), Pollock Alaska, Roughy Orange, Salmon Atlantic, Salmon Cherry

We also offer GMO Testing


Coffee authenticity

RSSL uses a screen of sugars by chromatography to assess the authenticity of soluble coffee against the specification given in ISO24114. This outlines specifications to certify the purity and quality of soluble coffee powder, providing a tool to detect possible adulterations.


Authentication of dairy products

RSSL use DNA techniques to validate the source of milk in cheese and other dairy products – testing the authenticity of buffalo mozzarella. In 2010 tests on 500 samples of buffalo mozzarella cheese had shown that roughly a quarter contained some cow’s milk. Under the rules of its PDO protected status, buffalo mozzarella should only be made using buffalo milk. Scientists at RSSL are able to detect cow’s milk in buffalo milk at levels as low as 1%. Our protein profiling can also identify addition of whey to milk, cheese or other dairy products.


Premium & speciality oil authentication (including olive oil)

When considering the authenticity of oils, most are derived from plants with a fatty acid and sterol profile that indicate their source. The presence of the ‘wrong’ fatty acid or sterol is a strong indication of adulteration or substitution. Equally the same is true of animal fats such as tallow and lard. European Union Regulation, 2568/91, and its many amendments, sets out more than 20 analytical values for determining the relevant grade, quality and authenticity of an olive oil. RSSL is able to provide analysis to authenticate a variety of premium oils such as extra virgin olive oil, evening primrose, walnut and almond oil. By understanding the markers that indicate higher levels of refining or cheaper oils that can be seen in authenticity investigations e.g. sunflower and rapeseed RSSL can provide clients assurance of a premium oil or evidence of an adulterated or substituted oil. We are also able to carry out fatty acid analysis.


Interested in this service?

Make an Enquiry