The infamous horsemeat scandal of 2013 shined a spotlight on the questionable integrity of our meat supply. What followed was a lengthy investigation as the extent of the scandal unraveled before our eyes, reaching far beyond the European borders into Russia, India, China, and the United States. All this simply highlights the growing need for analytical methods that could effectively detect adulterated meat with undeclared species.
Finding the Needle in a Haystack
As analytical chemists, we are always looking for cutting-edge and innovative ways to better detect the “unusual” or “unknown.” With the wider requirement from global governments to regulate food manufacturing, the threshold for undeclared species in meat products gets lower and lower, driving the needle deeper into the haystack.
This means it is imperative that analytical methods are sensitive and accurate enough to screen for the presence of meat adulteration in food products. The common methods of choice for meat speciation—polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA)—are not up to par.
PCR, for instance, amplifies fragments of DNA extracted from food samples and demonstrates reliable sensitivity in unprocessed products. However, as DNA can be easily disrupted or removed during food processing and manufacturing, PCR is ineffective with regards to processed or cooked meat products.
While ELISA is relatively quick and simple to perform, it has poor selectivity and is susceptible to cross-species reactivity. This can lead to a higher number of false positive or negative results. Moreover, most ELISA tests lack multiplexing capabilities.
As a result, routine food testing labs are exploring alternative methods to test meat products for authenticity, in efforts to more accurately identify the species present.
Fight Back with LC-MS/MS Meat Speciation Testing Solutions
When all seems lost, fret not. LC-MS/MS to the rescue! In leading the fight for meat speciation and authenticity testing, LC-MS/MS solutions take a comprehensive approach.
LC-MS/MS meat speciation testing solutions enable:
- Highly selective screening to identify proteins markers and other contaminants in meat samples
- Accuracy and reliability with less false positives and negatives
- Detection of protein peptides across multiple meat species at levels as low as 0.02%
- Reduced sample prep time (30-second sample extraction)
- Quality linear responses at different meat concentrations in meat matrix
- Simultaneous detection of meat species and veterinary drug residues in a single analysis
Would your food testing lab benefit from faster, more conclusive meat speciation results? Find out how LC-MS/MS can revolutionize your labs by visiting our Meat Species Testing and Adulteration Analysis page, packed with videos, tech notes, solution guides, and so much more.