New food labelling regulations require accurate meat tests
Near Infrared offers rapid testing of multiple quality parameters
The European Commission has published a new regulation on the provision of food information to consumers (EU) No 1169/2011) applicable to all member states of the European Union (EU).
Under the new rules, the energy content and amounts of fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt, must all be stated on the packaging. All this information must be expressed per 100g or per 100ml. In relation to ground meat, labels will be required to state fat content and protein expressed as a percentage of collagen content.
Near infrared option
The regulation does not stipulate particular analytical methods, but rapid testing with near infrared (NIR) offers a practical option for meat products. Instruments such as the FOSS FoodScan™ for meat can be used at the production line or in the laboratory and a single test taking less than a minute gives results for multiple parameters including fat, protein, salt, collagen and moisture.
Most importantly, instruments such as the FoodScan can be supplied with a single ready-made calibration covering testing needs at different stages of the production process. Data acquired from thousands of samples has been used to create the FoodScan calibration, ensuring accurate results for a wide variety of products ranging from raw material, preparations for sausages (filling material) to final products like bacon, cooked hams, sausages and salami .
Studies have shown a strong correlation between the NIR tests and the official reference methods. The FoodScan meat calibration has received approval from the U.S. based Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC) for the analysis of moisture, fat and protein in meat and in Australia the FoodScan has obtained the AusMeat accreditation. In Europe, authorities in Poland have recognized the FoodScan under the Polska Norma standard as a rapid solution for testing multiple quality parameters of meat
While NIR instruments offer a convenient solution to the growing demand for accurate information about food products, users should still choose carefully, particularly when considering the calibration work involved. FOSS meat market manager Poul Erik Simonsen said: “The FOSS FoodScan is a great NIR solution for testing many of the parameters required for new labeling regulations. It covers nearly all types of meat products and it’s a “plug and play” analyser. But for some NIR solutions this is not the case, and that is why we urge buyers to think very carefully about the calibration work involved for these solutions. If the right calibration is not available, NIR can turn out to be expensive and time consuming.”
The EU regulation No 1169/2011 is to be implemented by December 2014. More information can be found here
Read more about the FOSS FoodScan