INSTITUTO DE GEOCRONOLOGIA Y GEOLOGIA ISOTOPICA
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
congresos y reuniones científicas
Tracing Provenance: differentiating European from Argentinean Foods.
D.A. WUNDERLIN, H.A. OSTERA, P.PERAL-GARCÍA, M. CAGNONI, M.V. BARONI, N.S. PODIO, M.P. FABANI, M.P. DÍAZ, R. BADINI, C.M.INGA.
Congreso; Trace 5th Annual Meeting and Conference.; 2009
Food and Environment Research Agency
This work is part of activities carried out in Argentina as part of the TRACE project, which is granted by EU (FP6) with the main goal of assessing food provenance considering several endpoints. Among possible hypothesis, we evaluated the follow up of several metals from farm soil to food products as well as changes in stable isotopic composition in foods produced at five different areas of Argentina. In this way, we look to construct a fingerprint of such foodstuffs, pointing out differences among studied areas as well as with similar products produced in other latitudes, like EU. If this idea works, it could be rise to the concept of chemical traceability of foods, which could be a valuable complement for other traceability techniques, reinforcing the confidence of consumers in such foods that can be traced from farm to fork. Studied Areas in Argentina include the provinces of Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, Córdoba, San Juan and Mendoza, covering wet-templates areas (pampas) and semi-arid regions with different geology. Studied Areas in EU correspond to those covered by TRACE project (Austria, Germany, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and UK). Analyzed elements include 31 trace elements and stable isotopic pattern (δ 13C, δ 15N, δ 18O, the ratio 85Sr/87Sr, etc.). Thus, we looked to construct a fingerprint characteristic for a particular product, arising from a particular country, or a single area within a country. Food commodities included in our study were: Honey, Olive Oil, Beef, Wheat and Wine. We also analyzed the composition of agricultural soils and irrigation water. Preliminary results show that it is possible to differentiate Argentinean honey and olive oil from the corresponding European counterpart. However, such differentiation needs the use of a wide range of chemical parameters to be effective. Sometimes, differences between Argentinean and European foods could be attributed to differences in agricultural soil, climate, farm practices, etc. However, some differences seems to be consequence of different pollution degrees, like high levels of lead found in EU honey in relation to the Argentinean product. Furthermore, the evaluation of food provenance should not be exclusively based on the composition of the final product, but considering the association between agricultural soil and the commodity, which can be done by multivariate statistical methods, constructing prediction models appropriate to include the whole fingerprint and its association with provenance soil and environment. When evaluating foods and beverages obtained after an industrial process, like wine, more variables are needed to fully assess their provenance. In our experience, plant physiology and wine-making practices introduce changes that should be considered when evaluating traceability. We conclude that it is possible to differentiate Argentinean from European foods after considering several parameters that include chemical elements and stable isotopic patterns, constructing a fingerprint that should account for different species and production practices in addition to agreement with the provenance soil and their environmental conditions. These results point out the need of constructing extensive databases, including chemical and isotopic composition of food in association to soil characteristic, geology, pollution degree, etc. Such databases should be used in the future to support claims for the origin of foods, helping the international trade and increasing consumers confidence by avoiding frauds.