The Finnish Food Authority is launching a research project which will enable first steps towards a method for identifying the origin of food by using Strontium isotope analysis. The purpose of the study is to examine the variation in the composition of strontium isotopes in agricultural and natural soils. The development of the strontium isotopes methodology for food fraud is funded by the Jane ja Aatos Erkko Foundation.
The strontium isotope composition method is based on the fact that all plants and animals need calcium and that strontium behaves in the same way as calcium. That is why strontium is found everywhere, and it is naturally transported with calcium in small amounts from soil to plants and animals that eat them.
The strontium isotope composition of plants and animals varies regionally. It indicates the geological area in which the food was produced. As a heavy element, the isotope composition of strontium does not change much when transferring from the soil to a plant or an animal that eats it, so in the future the method can be used simultaneously for many different foods.
The challenges of the strontium isotope method vary in terms of the geology of the areas to be studied, so it is important that the method is studied and developed in Finland to meet the needs here. The Finnish Food Authority has a long tradition in research on food safety and origin of food, so this isotope method will complement the existing selection of research methods. The research is led by the researcher senior research Dr. Maria Lahtinen-Kaislaniemi.
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