Food, Oils and Fats

SGS M-Scan has investigated allegations from consumers, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and insurance companies that fruit, spices, oils and even processed convenience food have unpleasant taints and/or odours.

The contamination of food can arise due to:

  • residual compounds left on fresh food including pesticides and fertilizers,

  • contamination during transportation e.g. exposure to fuel vapours or flue gases,

  • residual compounds from food processing or handling,

  • adulterating compounds derived from its packing or distribution. Leachates released or migrating from packaging components used in the manufacture, storage or sale can include plasticizers e.g. BEHP, phthalates and adipates most of which are amenable to analysis by either GC-MS or LC-MS.

Unusual odours are analysed using thermal desorption gas chromatography mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS) and compared with known odour levels from SGS M-Scan’s own extensive database of odour thresholds. Residual pesticides and other higher boiling compounds are analysed using liquid or gas chromatograph mass spectrometry (LC-MS) or (GC-MS).

Purge and Trap, Thermal Desorption GC/MS is also used in the analysis of food. This technique offers 1000 fold increase in sensitivity over headspace techniques with the higher extraction temperatures offering the ability to detect higher molecular weight compounds.

Intact oils and fats are analysed by EGA-MS, FAB-MS and/or ES-MS. These methods can allow the animal or vegetable source of the triglycerides in question to be identified.

Saponification / methylation / GC-MS allows fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) to be detected and quantified in products and environmental samples.