The interest in detecting animal species in meat products is based on religious demands (halal and kosher) as well as on product adulterations (e.g. the use of horse meat instead of beef).
Our test systems can be used to reliably and specifically prove whether a certain food contains DNA from the following animal species:
- Water buffalo
Detection of product adulteration
Due to the different prices and availabilities of meat products from different animal species, there is the possibility that meat constituents are declared incorrectly in terms of quality and quantity. In doing so, high quality meat is substituted with cheaper meat. Close attention was paid to the horse meat scandal in Germany, for example, where horse meat was detected in beef lasagna. Horse DNA was also detected in beef burgers in Great Britain. The admixture of incorrect ingredients in food, which is either due to scrupulous merchants or negligent processing, must be constantly monitored by the food authorities. During the processing of meat products in the slaughterhouse, it is not always 100% possible to determine from which animal the respective meat products originate. This applies to mince meat and further processed meat-based products as well as feed products that contain meat. This results in a risk of a certain alteration of the products. Such product alterations can be specifically detected using real-time PCR and can be relatively quantified (with percentages of the respective animal species with regard to the overall quantity of meat).
Animal identification due to religious demands (halal and kosher)
It is particularly important for Muslim and Jewish consumers to know whether food that has been permitted for consumption and that was prepared in line with Muslim or Jewish beliefs (‘halal’ or ‘kosher’ food), contains even the smallest amount of contamination. In order to meet the expectations of these people, which make up 23 % of the world population, there are PCR tests that can specifically detect whether the meat is actually beef, poultry, pig or lamb, for example. Religiously-motivated investigations, particularly for pork in meat products or processed foods, do not contain any technical threshold values (zero tolerance). This means that purely qualitative and particularly sensitive tests are required for the detection of pork. The effective sensitivity of the real-time PCR used for this purpose is based on the presence of intact DNA, which means that detection in highly-processed food such as gelatin, is made difficult.