Analytical and testing services
Understanding the chemical make-up of your products is essential for a variety of reasons: health claims, nutrition labelling and allergen warnings to name but three. But there are many other aspects of food chemistry that need to be appreciated, so that you can address problems when they arise, or prevent them from occurring.
The nutritional composition of food is of major interest to the consumer - and to the authorities: it is important to know what is in your products. As well as the major nutrients - fats, proteins, carbohydrates and their individual components - you need to know about vitamins, minerals, and fibre, amongst others. We can help with all of these, in particular linking the relevance of analystical results to dietary significance and legislative requirements for nutrition or health claims. Fibre analysis is a particular area where results need to be interpreted in light of the analytical method used. European Legislation defines fibre, in essence, as carbohydrate polymers of three or more monomeric units, which are not digested or absorbed in the small intestine, which belong to certain specific categories, and which have a beneficial physiological effect. Different analytical methods will 'find' different types of fibre.
As well as analysing your products or ingredients for specific constituents, you will also need to have a system for demonstrating that they are what you think they are. Is the rice basmati? Is the burger beef, and is the fish finger cod? These types of questions require a range of different techniques to determine the answers - including chemical and biochemical analysis, DNA fingerprinting, various forms of spectroscopy and microscopic evaluation. Legislation and your customers demand that you know the answer. We have a wealth of expertise in matters ranging from fruit juice adulteration to genetic modification.
Many trace metals occur naturally in foods and some can occur as contaminants. Whilst some are nutrients, others, at high enough levels, are toxic. In many cases there are legislative limits on the specific trace metal content of food commodities. Rapid and reliable analysis of products for metals is essential in ensuring legislative compliance, demonstrating due diligence and troubleshooting problems that arise. The latest, quickest and most reliable technology for trace metal analysis is ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry). We use this state-of-the-art equipment and our expertise to deliver reliable results rapidly.
Packaging must not transfer its constituents into food to the detriment of the food’s quality. Legislation is very strict, especially regarding heavy metals and the components of plastics. We have a range of UKAS accredited methods for testing compliance with legal requirements for both heavy metal transfer and plastic migration from the packaging into the food. As well as 'global' migration analysis, we can also investigate migration of formaldehyde, acrylonitrile, vinyl acetate, bisphenol A, BADGE, NOGE, BFDGE, and phthalates.