A foodstuff’s recipe and material composition determine its quality, sensory characteristics, nutritional values and finally, its marketability and safety. The composition of foodstuffs is governed by legal regulations that set minimum and maximum amounts of certain contents. These have two protection objectives – protecting the consumer’s health and also protecting against fraud – an important role. Quality standards are also set by consumer expectations. For certain foods, these are set out in the principles of the German Food Code Commission, for example.
The quality of a foodstuff is defined by many aspects, also depending on labelling. These aspects include:
- Amount of valuable substances and ingredients (eg proportion of almonds in marzipan)
- Presence of undesired substances (eg coumarin in cinnamon)
- Contamination by allergens or genetically modified organisms
- Pollution with residues (eg pesticides) and contaminants (from the environment, such as mycotoxins and heavy metals, from the processing chain, such as acrylamide or 3-MCPD, and from packaging, such as plasticisers)
- The microbiological state.
The nutritional value of a foodstuff is derived from its nutritional composition. In recent years, the declaration of nutritional values on food packaging has grown in importance. According to a study by the GfK market research institute, more than 80% of packaged foodstuffs display nutritional values, and more than 50% of all items additionally bear GDA (guideline daily amount) information.
But although declaring nutritional values has up until now occurred on a mostly voluntary basis, the Food Information Regulation means that it will in future be compulsory in all European countries. In future, as well as the calorific value, the amounts of six nutrients must also be given: fat, saturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, sugar, protein and salt.
Our services include determination of all the required parameters:
- Nutritional analysis, calorific value, protein, carbohydrates, fat, fibre, sugar, fatty acids, cholesterol, organic acids, ethyl alcohol and polyvalent alcohols
- Minerals, trace elements
- Vitamins (water soluble and fat soluble), as well as vitaminoids
Determining origin and species
In order to assess whether labelling is correct, it can be necessary to check the stated origins and species of foodstuffs or ingredients. We are able to perform the following analyses, among others, in house:
- Animal type differentation (protein/DNA), poultry (chicken and turkey), wild (deer and stag), pig, cow and sheep, as well as types of fish
- Grain and potato differentiation (protein/DNA)
Rheology of foodstuffs
The rheological properties of a foodstuff can have an influence on its sensory properties. They can also be decisive for process management when it comes to further processing of a product. To this end, we test the fineness and viscosity of a foodstuff or food additive.