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Simultaneous Detection of Multiple Species in Meat Using LC-MS/MS Technology

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Smart food shopping starts with labels.  However, what if we told you the ingredient list may not be all that it seems?  According to Food Safety News, producers are sneaking lower quality ingredients into our food to save money.  This type of food fraud  is estimated to cost the global food industry $10 to $15 billion per year. If you think back to the Middle Ages, even our ancestors were consumed with cost savings by inserting nutshells, seeds, berries, and more within their spices.  

To read the complete Food Quality report on the SCIEX LC-MS/MS solution, click here.

Safety and Ethical Problems Exist within our Food Supply. However, we no longer live in the Middle Ages, and healthy nutrients such as honey, olive oil, milk, spices, fruit juices, meats, grains, and even organic food are most likely to be plagued by false ingredients. Search the Internet and you can find a substantial list of what might be substituted for the real thing.  This can be a huge problem, not only due to possible harmful side effects for consumers, but also due to ethical and religious concerns around food origin. In the Islamic community, for example, it is the law to monitor food, consumer products or other objects for permissibility.  A very specific example is the testing of meat products for the presence of pork, which is forbidden in Halal-classified food products.

Move Over ELISA and PCR, Here Comes a Better Way to Test for Meat Authenticity: To address these growth safety and ethical concerns around food, and specifically meat, authenticity, a new meat species authentication method developed for Halal food verification using the QTRAP 6500 LC-MS/MS has recently been developed.  Thanks to scientists at the University of Münster, multiple species were detected simultaneously while achieving the lowest levels of detection in cooked and highly processed meats.  Many advantages were discovered over traditional methods such as PCR and ELISA, which are plagued with delivering false negative or false positive results, but also where sample degradation (particularly common in processed food products) can have a significant impact on the reliability of the results. The latest LC-MS/MS technology is not only sensitive enough to detect porcine contamination as low as one percent, but it is diverse enough to detect multiple species simultaneously, and utilizes multiple peptide or lipid markers from each species to help improve reliability in the results, even for processed foods. As a result, labs will feel more confident that when they report a positive result, it is indeed a positive result, and vice versa.

Committed to Progress: Meat is one of the most consumed food products in the world, and labs are increasingly finding new ways to test for authenticity and adulteration.  “You are what you eat,” should remain true, and the SCIEX team is committed to helping labs get the testing done right. To view a list of reported food fraud risks, visit  To read the complete Food Quality report on the SCIEX LC-MS/MS solution, click here.

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