SOURCE: Picarro


April 14, 2010 09:00 ET

Picarro and IsoForensics Announce World's First Milk Origin Verification Solution

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - April 14, 2010) - Sure, you've got milk. But where's that milk from? Until now, the only authentication for milk origin was a bar code on a container. Picarro and IsoForensics are announcing at the Food Safety Summit the world's first Milk Origin Verification Solution (MOVS) for the food and beverage industry. Now food companies can quickly verify the geographic origins of wholesale milk purchases with a high degree of confidence. "With MOVS, a 'Wisconsin cheddar' cheese company can independently screen their supply chain for milk that does not come from Wisconsin," says IsoForensics CEO James Ehleringer. "They can verify milk origin on a regular basis without disrupting production." MOVS adds to Picarro's growing suite of food fraud detection applications.

According to researchers at Michigan State University, 5% to 7% of the U.S. food supply is impacted by food fraud involving the substitution of inferior products or ingredients. Food fraud impacts food safety and traceability, truth-in-labeling, and brand security for numerous food companies. Increasingly, these companies are checking competitors' products for ingredient authenticity to ensure a level playing field. MOVS will provide the $20 billion U.S. dairy products industry with a breakthrough origin verification solution that is both cost effective and easy to use.

MOVS is based on stable isotopes that provide a molecular 'fingerprint.' This fingerprint can be used to determine where milk was produced. Food companies can purchase Picarro's Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy (CRDS) stable isotope analyzer to rapidly assign isotope ratios to milk samples. The food companies can then quickly reference the sample ratios against an isotope fingerprint database developed by IsoForensics and Purdue University. The output will be a statistical assessment of the likely origins of milk samples. Picarro will be the lead sales contact for MOVS.

MOVS will be the first in a planned suite of IsoForensics food origin verification solutions to be developed for use in conjunction with Picarro's analyzer. With MOVS, buyers of dairy products can quickly compare isotope 'fingerprints' of batches of milk against established databases to verify expected isotopic consistency for point of origin. Samples will not need to be sent to a lab for testing. Food companies will not need to hire highly trained scientists and technicians to operate the Picarro analyzer, which can easily be located on premises. IsoForensics anticipates partnering with industry organizations to create known isotopic standards as part of a broad effort to institute extensive food authenticity testing in the U.S. and around the world.

"Food fraud is multi-billion dollar economic problem that also affects families, including mine, at the breakfast table every morning," says Picarro CEO Michael Woelk. "By coupling Picarro's revolutionary CRDS technology to IsoForensics' world class isotope data library, we're making complex region-of-origin assessments push-button simple. This type of solution will enable stable isotope analysis to become routine throughout the complex global food supply network."

About Picarro: Based in Sunnyvale (Calif.), Picarro makes the world's highest precision and easiest to use gas analzyers for point of origin testing. Picarro has robust applications to detect adulteration in honey, chocolate, edible oils, fruit juices and to detect bioplastics content. Picarro serves customers on seven continents in 46 countries with products for measurement and analysis of stable isotopes. Customers include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Harvard University, Purdue University, and the University of Utah.

About IsoForensics: Based in Salt Lake City (Utah), IsoForensics is an industry leader in the fast-growing world of forensic isotopic analysis. Founded by leading academics, the company is focused on interpreting stable isotope composition of biological and synthetic materials in order to determine geographic origins and quantify adulteration.

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