In which areas can spectrometry be applied? Can it be used to improve food safety?

In the food sector NIR technology has a fundamental role: it helps breeders, feeders, farmers to make their work better, more efficient and more profitable. Also in the Seafood sector the use of spectrometers can be very useful, especially in terms of safety.

Stop fraud in the fish and food safety with NIR and VIS-NIR technology

Unfortunately, cases of fraud in which thawed fish are sold as fresh are not uncommon in the seafood industry. NIR and VIS-NIR technology can be used in these cases to determine the freshness or otherwise of a product, thus safeguarding food safety and stopping possible frauds against consumers.

A striking case is that of the marketing of thawed cuttlefish (Sepia Officinalis) sold as fresh, treated with hydrogen peroxide to bleach them, and make them look like freshly caught. The use of spectrophotometry, specifically Polispec NIR and VIS-NIR, was more crucial than ever to detect this fraud and determine the practice used to sell a thawed fish as fresh.

Seafood is the product most susceptible to fraudulent activity. Selling thawed products as fresh is a threat to food safety and a danger to consumers. Thorough inspection requires time and precise tools. In this study, which you can download and learn more about, spectrophotometry applied to seafood is shown to be a valuable aid in classifying and identifying cuttlefish based on their physical condition and freshness.

Seafood origin and labeling

Another important issue in the seafood sector concerns the origin of raw materials. Knowing precisely the geographical area of origin of seafood is essential to achieve the correct labeling and authenticate a product, thus providing an additional guarantee of freshness to the consumer.

Also in this case spectrometry has a very important role for the authentication of a product. The Polispec Nir spectrophotometer, for example, was used to evaluate the origins of cuttlefish (Sepia Officialis) caught in five FAO fishing zones (Adriatic, Northeast Atlantic Ocean Zone, East Central Atlantic Ocean Zone, East Indian Ocean Zone, and West Central Pacific Ocean Zone). Spectrophotometry can therefore be used to determine the catch area of cuttlefish, thus enhancing the value of the product itself. Knowing the exact area of fishing also helps to identify crimes such as fishing in prohibited areas (for example during fishing bans) or false labeling in case a fish is defined as “local” when in reality it is not.

In a research carried out by the Departments of “Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science” and “Animal Medicine, Production and Health” of the University of Padua, the company BLUPESCA SRL and researchers Sarah Currò, Stefania Balzan, Enrico Novelli, Lorenzo Serva, Luciano Boffo and Luca Fasolato, the importance of spectrometry applied to food safety and product traceability in the fisheries sector is highlighted. Download pdf and read more.