Detection of counterfeit brand spirits using 1H NMR fingerprints in comparison to sensory analysis

Citation:
Kuballa T, Hausler T, Okaru AO, Neufeld M, Abuga KO, Kibwage IO, Rehm J, Luy B, Walch SG, Lachenmeier DW. "Detection of counterfeit brand spirits using 1H NMR fingerprints in comparison to sensory analysis." Food Chem.. 2018;245:112-115.

Abstract:

Beverage fraud involving counterfeiting of brand spirits is an increasing problem not only due to deception of the consumer but also because it poses health risks e.g. from possible methanol admixture. Suspicious spirit samples from Russia and Kenya were analysed using 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in comparison to authentic products. Using linear regression analysis of spectral integral values, 4 counterfeited samples from Russia and 2 from Kenya were easily identifiable with R2 < 0.7. Sensory analysis using triangle test methodology confirmed significant taste differences between counterfeited and authentic samples but the assessors were unable to correctly identify the counterfeited product in the majority of cases. An important conclusion is that consumers cannot assumed to be self-responsible when consuming counterfeit alcohol because there is no general ability to organoleptically detect counterfeit alcohol. Beverage fraud involving counterfeiting of brand spirits is an increasing problem not only due to deception of the consumer but also because it poses health risks e.g. from possible methanol admixture. Suspicious spirit samples from Russia and Kenya were analysed using 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in comparison to authentic products. Using linear regression analysis of spectral integral values, 4 counterfeited samples from Russia and 2 from Kenya were easily identifiable with R2 < 0.7. Sensory analysis using triangle test methodology confirmed significant taste differences between counterfeited and authentic samples but the assessors were unable to correctly identify the counterfeited product in the majority of cases. An important conclusion is that consumers cannot assumed to be self-responsible when consuming counterfeit alcohol because there is no general ability to organoleptically detect counterfeit alcohol.

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