Products of natural origin are produced by living organisms.
These are found in their natural habitat. In some sense, it could be said that it is a substance produced in nature that contains life .
They are natural chemicals. These chemical compounds of mineral origin are produced by the same nature. So they have not been created by man artificially. It can be said that a natural product is an organic compound . It is produced by a primary or secondary metabolic process in a natural environment.
But how to know if a product is natural or not?
THE CARBON-14 ANALYSIS
In general, natural products derived 100% natural, usually are more expensive than the synthetic ones, produced artificially by the man.
Expensive in both time and resources. This is because of its “natural” characteristics. These require a specific time and organic resources. So they can only be obtained in a “natural” way, providing these conditions and necessary means.
In the current market, fraud regarding this argument is widespread in many products, for example, honey, cheese and wine.
As well as in the techniques used by those who claim to be “natural”. For example, there are companies that label alternative synthetic products usually derived from petroleum, passing them off as “natural”.
And this is where the control of the authorities and of the companies that want to be loyal to its principles must absolutely pay attention. To be able to offer its customers products of the quality they expect. And with the corresponding verification and guarantee that they are adapted to the demands and expectations of the consumer.
Through the analysis of carbon-14 , producers and suppliers of raw materials, distributors, regulatory agencies and of course consumers can check whether a product has natural origin or not.
In particular, it can be idenfied if the flavors or aromas dispensed by “natural” are adulterated or fraudulent. There are other analytical methods of control and quality that are usually used to detect adulterations. However, only carbon-14 analysis can identify if there are synthetic adulterations derived from petrochemical sources. This is a great advantage when it comes to guaranteeing a “natural” product.
IN WHAT WAY DO YOU ANALYZE CARBON-14
The products that have 100% biological base are 100% derived from plants, animals or microbiological materials.
The carbon-14 analysis has the particularity of measuring the exact percentage of carbon in a material that comes from biomass.
And it will allow to determine if a product really comes from an organic material, that is, natural.
FCC food chemical codex
It is the well-known FCC (Food Chemicals Codex). It is a method that regulatory agencies and all companies adhered to the legislation use to determine the authenticity of food ingredients derived from natural sources.
The FCC codex is an internationally recognized compendium of quality, identity and purity standards for food ingredients, published by the United States Pharmaceutical Convention (USP).
In their quality analysis they include specific information about the chemical formula, structure and molecular weight of the ingredients of a product.
As well as its function, definition and information on packaging, storage and labeling. T
hey may also include other exhaustive analyzes and their relative trials and results.Together with them, they express the material and instruments used, in order to guarantee their reliability.
With the results obtained by the FCC in independent mode, each supplier and producer determines the agreement criteria. That is, characteristics of identity, quality and purity, and therefore the basis for determining the “natural” authenticity of the product.
So the criterion to determine if a product is natural will depend on the will of the producer. It will decide whether to guarantee its products loyally and transparently, in order to obtain consumer trust or not.
The FCC method is used to determine the content of biological origin that exists in food. Analyzes carbon isotope records to distinguish between renewable carbon sources (for example, plant or animal supplies ).
And it also analyzes synthetic sources (for example, petroleum derivatives). In this way, the content of biological origin existing in the product is determined in a clear and precise manner.
In addition to it, this method permits testing in particular the percentage of material of existing biological origin, for later comparison with those described in the labels of such foods.
From what we have seen, the analysis of content of biological origin (Carbon 14 analysis) is a very useful tool . It’s relevant in order to distinguish between these two sources: natural or synthetic. Synthetic flavors and aromas are usually made from mineral sources such as petroleum. Fossil fuels such as oil were formed millions of years ago and therefore do not contain carbon 14. In contrast, materials obtained from natural sources will have a carbon content similar to that of today’s plants. Therefore, by measuring the carbon 14 content of flavors and aromas , one can determine whether the material comes from natural or synthetic sources. As well as if a flavor or aroma labeled as 100 % of natural origin has been adulterated .
COUNTERFEIT OF NATURAL PRODUCTS
As it is evident this method is of maximum utility at the time of detecting frauds and falsifications in products called “natural”. As we know, adulterations are frequent. Since for technical and economic reasons, the synthetic compound is cheaper than the natural extract.
Adulteration is more frequent particularly in high demand products . However, it is also very common in products already introduced in the market and more popular. So it is advisable to demand proof of authenticity and quality of “natural” always. Regardless of whether the product is of usual or new use.
For example, vanilla is a very popular food product because of its particular flavor and aroma characteristics.
Very appreciated especially in pastries and sweets in general. But due to its high demand and its low production it is an expensive and high price product. This makes most producers use synthetic vanilla , whose most common versions are lignin vanillin and ethyl vanillin.
The analysis of content of biological origin can distinguish extracts of vanilla beans from vanillin obtained from petroleum derivatives.
However, this test can not determine if the vanilla comes from vanilla beans or other botanical precursors. This is why the analysis of stable carbon isotopes is necessary and very useful.Because it allows to identify the source material , in this case vanilla .
Another very interesting case is that of caffeine . Its natural sources are coffee beans , tea leaves and guarana berries . W hile their sources sint é tics are obtained from chemical synthesis of urea.
Caffeine, as is well known, is a key product in the food and beverage industry. Either in their versions of coffee, tea or generic drink.
A growing caffeinated beverages such as energy drinks and sports drinks have caused an increasing of a faster production and on a large scale. Synthetically produced caffeine is much cheaper to produce and therefore is mostly the one used for this type of product.
Another example can be found in acetic acid , whose natural source is found in the fermentation of certain plants and fruits. W hile its synthetic source is obtained by synthetic alcohol.
Acetic acid has a wide variety of uses. In its diluted form, it is used as a cleaning agent (vinegar). In the food industry, it is used as a regulator of acidity and as a condiment.
And another product also widely used is tartaric acid, the natural source is found in some fruits (commonly as a subproduct of the industry of wine production). And its synthetic source is obtained by the maleic anhydride (synthetic L (+) tartaric acid) .
The use of tartaric acid is very common in the food industry. Especially in the production of wines and juices as well as the pastry. Both natural sources and synthetic sources of tartaric acid are used commercially. The analysis of the content of biological origin can distinguish between the two types. Verifying what material was obtained from natural sources.
In all cases, the analysis of content of biological origin is essential to determine if the product is derived from a natural source or from a synthetic petrochemical source.
THE ANALYSIS OF THE BIOLOGICAL-BASED CONTENT
As we have already said an analysis of the content to basic biological can help manufacturers and distributors to analyze correctly the biobased content of a product. This analysis will determine the amount of carbon derived from biomass present in the product.
It is very useful and applicable also to liquids, solids and gases.
Measurement and analysis though the carbon 14 technique shows how much material has been biobased was used in food processing. The analysis quantifies the biologically based content of the material. But the results have no implication on the biodegradability of it.
As we have seen, the carbon-14 analysis technique helps to identify which foods are natural or not.
A valuable and undoubtedly useful aid to guarantee consumers the transparency of the nutritional information of the food products.
Requiring this guarantee from producers, distributors and customers is essential to acquire trust between customers and brands. In addition, it provides its customers the possibility to choose with transparency and assure the products they want to consume. It is a consumer right that should be protected and guaranteed.
COMING SOON WE WILL EXPAND THIS TOPIC AND TALK ABOUT MORE THEMES RELATED TO NATURAL, PROBIOTIC AND ORGANIC FOODS