Handheld spectral sensing devices should not mislead consumers as far as non-authentic food is concerned: A case study with adulteration of milk powder
With the rising trend of consumers being offered by start-up companies portable devices and applications for checking quality of purchased products, it appears of paramount importance to assess the reliability of miniaturized sensors embedded in such devices. Here, eight sensors were assessed for food fraud applications in skimmed milk powder. The performance was evaluated with dry- and wet-blended powders mimicking adulterated materials by addition of either ammonium sulfate, semicarbazide, or cornstarch in the range 0.5-10% of profit. The quality of the spectra was assessed for an adequate identification of the outliers prior to a deep assessment of performance for both non-targeted (soft independent modelling of class analogy, SIMCA) and targeted analyses (partial least square regression with orthogonal signal correction, OPLS). Here, we show that the sensors have generally difficulties in detecting adulterants at ca. 5% supplementation, and often fail in achieving adequate specificity and detection capability. This is a concern as they may mislead future users, particularly consumers, if they are intended to be developed for handheld devices available publicly in smartphone-based applications. Full article(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rapid Detection Methods for Food Fraud and Food Contaminants Series II).