Eggspectation: organic egg authentication method challenged with produce from ten different countries

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S.M. van Ruth
A.H. Koot
S.E. Brouwer
N. Boivin
M. Carcea
C.N. Zerva
J.-E. Haugen
A. Höhl
D. Köroglu
I. Mafra
S. Rom


carotenoids, chemometrics, fraud, profiling


Many consumers are willing to pay a higher price for organic eggs. Since these eggs retail at a higher price than conventional eggs and their identity is difficult to verify, they are susceptible to fraud. For the authentication of Dutch eggs RIKILT developed an analytical test method based on carotenoid profiling. In the present study, the method was challenged with eggs from 10 countries. Eggs from 94 farms (65 organic, 29 conventional) were subjected to the carotenoid High Performance Liquid Chromatography - Diode Array Detection profiling combined with k-nearest neighbour classification chemometrics to predict the farming management system category: organic or conventional. The eggs from 39 of the 40 EU organic farms and the eggs of 27 of the 29 EU conventional farms, as well as eggs from 17 of the 25 organic farms from outside the EU were classified correctly. The latter lower rate was mainly due to eggs from Turkey; 78% of which were misclassified. The methodology was successful in farming management prediction of the EU eggs, as well as for eggs from Canada, Israel and Norway. The identity of the eggs from Turkey was consistently incorrectly predicted and needs further research.

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