Every year Estonian University of Life Sciences organises a conference called “Healthy animal and healthy food” where Dr. Riin Rebane made a presentation “Fight against food fraud” which explained the ever-expanding role of analytical chemists in food science. Reasons for food fraud vary, but are almost always for monetary gain and therefore food fraud is in constant progress. One good example is honey analysis, where for decades there has been a change in methods in order to identify whether honey is real or whether it is identified with correct botanical or geographical origin. As a natural product, no two honeys are identical and this makes identification further more challenging for the chemists. One of the possible methods is amino acid analysis since the amino acid content can be like a fingerprint for honeys and in University of Tartu we have analysed few hundreds of Estonian honeys and have seen that that foreign honeys do differ in most cases and also that there is a correlation between the amino acid content and botanical origin. But nevertheless, even this method might not work every time and chemists are looking towards methods such as nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and even DNA-analysis to get better certainty for determining the origin of honey.
The summary based on the presentation was also reported in the newspaper Maaleht.