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Reasons for Meat Species Identification Analysis

Consumer awareness about meat products has increased and they wish to know the composition of the meat products. Food testing laboratories use various methods to detect meat species in food products.  Since there are chances of adulteration the analytical techniques used must be sensitive, rapid and accurate and should be applicable to both heat processed and raw meats. The most popular food testing techniques for meats are the DNA based techniques.

Detecting species

One of the most important reasons for carrying out meat testing is because of regulatory requirement and to support food labelling. Some laboratories use Real-Time PCR for animal species identification. PCR technique is very sensitive analysis method that can identify the target DNA even at very low levels and which is not possible with other testing methods.

The test can detect the species like cow, buffalo, sheep, goat, horse, camel, chicken and pork and the scope can be further expanded to meet your specific requirements of the manufacturers. 

Meat adulteration

With the increase in meat prices and decreasing availability of meats, there are some unscrupulous traders that can be tempted to adulterate expensive meats with a low priced meat. Species testing is required for detecting the cheaper meat species, which can be mixed into raw meats. Besides adulteration with cheaper meats high value meats can also be adulterated with vegetable proteins like soya.  Using undeclared ingredients in meat products can render the meat products unsafe and harmful for health besides being a regulatory non-compliance. Food testing laboratories do a great service for consumers in procuring quality meat products.

Reasons for meat testing

Species meat testing is also important as certain meats are not permitted in some religions, like cow, dog and pork. In some cases horse meat is used as an adulterant, so detection is important as the product could be labelled 100% mutton, beef etc. In recent time false declarations on labels is a growing problem form the point of view of the consumer health, fair trade besides religion. Meat product manufacturers must partner with an accredited laboratory that uses reliable species analysis. A method known as DNA-hybridization is used to analyse the similarity of DNA strands even if the adulteration is at very low limits.

Consumer food safety

Meat product manufacturers need to ensure that their processed meat products are in regulatory compliance and are authentic. Meat processors have to ensure that there has been accurate evaluation and food labelling and no undeclared meat species are present in their products so there is complete food safety for consumers. Consumer protection from mislabelled meat products is one of the main reasons as to why more accurate detection techniques in species analysis have now been developed. In recent years food testing and research laboratories have developed meat testing methods for quantitative analysis of meats present in various composition. They can also detect presence of various meat species in meats that have been processed in high temperatures or which are present in mixtures and whichdepend on analysis of protein and peptide biomarkers.
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