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  • Debra Topham

Can’t Fool Mother Nature–testing for organic sources

Updated: Aug 18, 2019

Technology Networks reports on a method to detect organic and non-organic sources of milk. They summarize a paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry exploring ratios of carbon isotopes in a small sample of milk products.  This would be a new application of technology to help fight fraud.

In this application, researchers would look for ratios of carbon isotopes that vary based on the plant materials fed to the cows.  The typical diet of cows fed organic feed is different than conventionally fed cows.  This translates into different carbon isotopes in the fatty acids of the milk. The researchers looked for similar effects in the amino acids between organic and conventional milks.

As these methods are validated and tested in other foods, it brings new meaning to “trust but verify” and “it is not nice to fool Mother Nature”.

Reference Ill-Min Chung, et al. “Fatty Acid- and Amino Acid-Specific Isotope Analysis for Accurate Authentication and Traceability in Organic Milk.” J. Agric. Food Chem. Article ASAP. Publication Date (Web): December 13, 2018. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b05063.

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