Food Science & Safety

NMR for Foods and Beverages

Ensuring Safety, Quality, Authenticity

It was a food industry nightmare. Melamine contamination in Chinese milk products had gone on undetected, missed by screening procedures that tested only selected, known contaminants. Similar adulteration was later found in eggs and animal feed, despite bans. Food contamination and fraud can strike worldwide, as illustrated in the 2013 discoveries of pork and horse meet in European beef products.

Prevention calls for nontargeted screening methods as part of routine quality assurance. Balancing the high stakes against time and resource constraints requires a cost-efficient and informative approach. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy can combine detection, identification, and quantification of key known ingredients as well as unanticipated contaminants and adulterants – all within the same set of scans.

How NMR Can Help

assuring honey purity
NMR methods ensure products like honey contain what they should – and are free of anything they shouldn’t.

Discover rapid screening and high-confidence results in these examples of targeted and untargeted foodscreening with NMR.

Profile product quality and nutrient content.

Detect fraud, adulteration, and contamination.

Monitor shelf life.

Analyze fats and oils.

Why NMR Is Advantageous

NMR provides direct, nondestructive insights into sample makeup and component concentrations, with certainty and efficiency.

  • Low cost per sample
  • Minimal sample preparation needed
  • Simultaneous compound identification and quantification
  • Combination of targeted and non-targeted analyses to ensure the presence of expected ingredients and the absence of contaminants or adulterants
  • Standardized and validated procedures to ensure consistency and compliance across operators and labs
  • Advanced statistical models to evaluate origin authenticity, species purity, false labeling, production process control, sample similarity, and more

How NMR Works: Easier, Smaller, Faster

The Bruker Fourier 300 NMR system
Compact MR systems save lab space and costs.

Recent developments in software and hardware streamline operation and reduce the system footprint. Fully automated, push-button NMR-based food screeners and validated methods streamline routine food and beverage testing and ensure reliable, reproducible results.

High-throughput, push-button methods make NMR spectroscopy a resource-efficient solution for quality control of:

and more.

Automated data collection, analysis, and reporting for routine analyses save time and effort.

FoodScreener data collection

NMR catches both expected and unexpected food components. This 1H NMR example shows adulteration of honey with rice syrup. Learn more in the Blog post: Ensuring Your Honey Is Pure.

Example NMR spectrum showing honey sample adulterated with rice-syrup
Example NMR spectrum showing honey sample adulterated with rice-syrup.