- Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) scientists had hoped to use their laser technology, referred to as an “isotope ratio-meter,” to study the atmosphere on Mars, but last year their attention turned toward using it as a tool to spot fraud in food products, such as olive oil, honey and chocolate.
- By burning small samples of olive oil, tests can evaluate gasses and provenance to to determine if a buyer is really getting what they paid for.
- The tool measures molecule structures as it turns liquids or solids into gas, and Dr. Damien Weidmann, who heads the RAL team, calls the process "very efficient."
From the article:
... Testing the authenticity of olive oil, which is done only sporadically by food inspectors, tends to happen in labs, with expensive equipment and chemistry techniques. Weidmann, an applied physics expert, wants to make the fraud detection tool inexpensive and mobile. He estimates they would need another €225,000 to test and bring a smaller version of the isotope ratio-meter to market. ...