Pilot Program for Provenance, Authentication, and Product Quality Analysis for BC Agri-Food and Agri-Products


BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands

Project description

Provenance (geographical origin) is an important indicator of agricultural product quality and a crucial step for building consumer confidence in product authenticity. This multifaceted project has been on-going since 2009 with the aim to develop and validate applied methods that support the authenticity and quality of agricultural products. In order for BC industry to be competitive in domestic and foreign markets, we need a reliable system for assessing product provenance.

We began by developing a method that uses total reflection x-ray fluorescence technology to take elemental fingerprints of BC grown merlot grapes and various Ginseng species. After this, we expanded to meet the needs of natural health product and dietary supplement manufacturers by developing a near-infrared spectroscopy method for authenticating their raw botanical ingredients. We optimized and validated a method to quantify major flavonoligans in milk thistle and developed a quality control program to authenticate honey produced in BC. Our work on establishing “best practices” for authenticating BC honey is on-going, with methods under development for analyzing the pyrrolizidine alkaloids contributed by BC plant pollen.

In parallel with the technological portions of this project, we designed a novel Laboratory Proficiency Program and tested it for statistical merit. The program was then expanded into a collaborative study involving multiple laboratories.

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