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Fake organic food test

Scientists have developed a test that can detect if unscrupulous traders are trying to pass off non-organic fruit and vegetables as organic to boost their profits.

The chemical test relies on identifying a “nitrogen signature” that is left in food by the conventional fertilisers used in intensive farming.

Organic food, which is a £15 billion global market, is currently regulated by a system of certification and inspection.

Simon Kelly, of the University of East Anglia, said that the test, reported by his team in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, could provide extra evidence when foul play was suspected.

“When the test has been made more reliable then we may get to the stage where it can be used routinely in addition to the organic certification system,” he said.

Article by Roger Highfield for The Daily Telegraph UK, April 9, 2007

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