flavorings, food, additives, SPME, GC-MS, Thermo ScientificThis is the last article in this series. From what I can tell there are a few of you that not only like the idea of no sample prep but also like wine. Seems there are more people like me out there than I thought, good. Now we move to flavoring additives, those compounds and ingredients that are added to food and drinks to give additional flavors or make it taste good. Makes me wonder what food would taste like without the added flavorings. Specifically we are looking for additives that are banned in EU and US. This is to help regulators and the respective labs with methodologies that can be implemented across a wide range of foods and beverages all without the need for manual sample prep before GC-MS analysis.

Despite a history of use in foods and beverages, some plant extracts are now regulated in the EU and some, such as safrole, are banned from direct addition to foods in the U.S. European Regulation 1334/20082 stipulates that 15 flavoring substances are banned from direct addition to foods or beverages in their chemically pure form. These flavoring compounds are agaric acid, aloin, capsaicin, coumarin, hypericine, β-asarone, estragole, hydrocyanic acid, menthofuran, methyleugenol, pulegone, quassin, safrole, teucrin A and α and β-thujone. Ten of these substances are permitted in food and beverages at stipulated levels, but only when they are naturally present in flavorings and food ingredients. The stipulated foodstuffs cover a wide range of physical and chemical composition such as liquids (spirit drinks and non-alcoholic beverages), semi-solid foods (soups, sauces and desserts) as well as solid foods (confectionery, chewing gum, fish, meat, bakery products and breakfast cereals). Without methods that can be routinely applied by the food industry, it is very difficult to control final levels of these flavoring substances in finished products, especially due to their high variability in levels between different plant species.

We thought this seemed to point directly to the use of the TriPlus RSH with SPME in the headspace, to make the analysis more universal. Add the capability of the TSQ Quantum XLS to locate the compounds of interest at low levels in the matrix and you have a simple analysis technique. Although SPME is very well established for the analysis of flavorings, published methods have focused on individual food classes and no publications have truly tackled the issue of providing methodology for enforcement of regulations to control biologically active flavoring principles. This method, developed at the FSRC, uses a generic approach based on three categories of food types which has been optimized for the simultaneous determination of seven volatile flavoring substances whose levels are controlled in EU in specified foods.

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We can show that pesticides are not in food and drink. We can prove the wine is good. We can demonstrate food and drink that does not have banned biologically active flavorings. All without manual sample preparation. Its now time to celebrate with a goodmeal and greatwine. Cheers!

Download the application note here; Flavoring Analysis