Two of the major concerns in food nowadays are food safety and food fraud. The first concept refers to the accidental affectation of food by, for example, the presence of pesticides (or their metabolites) used to protect the crops. Pesticide contamination can affect both vegetal and animal products, soils and water, and in last instance, to human health. A rapid identification of harmful pesticides is key to ensure food safety. On the other hand, food fraud is an intentional adulteration, normally is economically driven, exchanging part of the elements of the food with a cheaper one. One of the cases of food fraud most extended in Europe was the Horsegate, where minced beef products were adulterated with horse meat. A deep understanding of food composition is key to anticipate those adulterations and ensure that the real food components are those specified on the label.
- Food Safety Authority of Ireland. 2013. FSAI Publishes Results of Industry Tests for Horse Meat. https://www.fsai.ie/news_centre/press_releases/industry_tests_horse_meat_04032013.html
Pesticides are one of the most important tools in the protection of agricultural crops against weeds, pests and diseases, prolonging the shelf life and enhancing the trade of high-quality food.
A good knowledge of the composition of food is key to identify food fraud. One of the fingerprinting elements in food is the lipidome, which refers to the totality of lipids in cells.