Most people never pay attention to the label on the food they buy, and those that do have no guarantee that was is stated on the package is actually the truth.
A DNA test would be perfect, but until now this process has been too expensive and labour intensive.
Italian scientists have now introduced something called the ‘NanoTracer,’ which is neither expensive to buy, nor hard to use. It relies on a simple colour change to tell the user whether the product is what is says it is. It can also tell whether a product has been diluted or replicated.
This system was tested on European perch, which is often substituted by cheaper fish species. The team also used saffron powder, which is often diluted with other herbs as a cost saving measure.
Both products were distinctly identified with NanoTracer, and the presence of substitutes or cheaper diluents was detected.
The test still takes around 3 hours to complete, but it does make it much easier for regional/smaller laboratories to test food products and whether the labels ring true.
At the moment there is no word on when this product will be produced on a larger scale.