Herbs and Spices

Spices are high-value commodities and frequent targets of food fraud. Adulteration can be achieved by using cheaper substitutes, ingredient dilution, or the addition of artificial flavours or colours. Third-party authentication services are the best defense against food fraud. No matter how trustworthy a chain of supply might have been in the past, today’s conditions have led to contingency buying across many markets. Producers need to ensure that they are working with pure, non-adulterated ingredients. 

Some of the frequent ways that spices

are adulterated are:

Similarly Textured Plants

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Other plant types can be substituted for valuable spices. Saffron, for example, can be adulterated with marigold flowers. Oregano is often bulked up with leaves from other plants, such as olive or myrtle leaves.

Bulky Powders and Ground Fillers

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For spices such as turmeric and chili, coloured fillers such as chalk dust, sawdust, or brick powder can be added.

Starches and Proteins

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Spices like cumin can be adulterated with fillers like ground barley, cornstarch or even ground nuts. Peppers are often adulterated with cheaper fillers like ground papaya seeds, buckwheat, or other substances.

Coloring Agents

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To mimic the bright yellow colour of turmeric, for example, artificial colouring agents are added. Some coloring agents have even been known to contain lead.

Testing Available For (and more...)









NMR is a Powerful Tool for Authenticating Spices

NMR is a non-targeted analytical technique used to examine the chemical composition of a sample.

It can provide a great deal of information such as:

Metabolomic Profile

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A comprehensive picture of the metabolomic profile of a product versus targeted methods that focus only on specific, pre-defined targets.

Chemical Composition

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Detailed information about the chemical composition of a product.

Present Compounds

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The quantification of compounds present in a sample.

Contaminants or Adulterants

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The presence of contaminants or adulterants.

Download Our Free Application note

Learn how NMR can be used for identification and adulteration detection of curcuma longa.

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