Chemometric Brain identifies food fraud and increase traceability along the global supply chain

26-05-2020

Identifying food fraud and improving ingredients and recipes traceability are long-standing issues in the food sector. To address these, Chemometric Brain, a cloud-based software solution, has been launched.

Chemometric Brain is a quality control system based on Near Infrared (NIR) technology to ensure the traceability, suitability and homogeneity of ingredients and food products, especially in recipes containing multiple ingredients.

NIR can be applied to many types of samples including powders, solids, gels and liquids and provide identification and comparison against other samples. As a result, this will increase a company’s food safety standards and establish a replicable quality control process. This solution can be used to identify raw materials, detect possible changes in suppliers’ processes, ensure the mixture composition, better determine the expected product shelf life or analyse physical-chemical properties, among others.

The major difference between NIR solutions already available and Chemometric Brain is that the latter is hosted in the cloud, and allows a company to consolidate all NIR spectra from multiple devices and multiple equipment manufacturers in a single place.

Once the spectra have been automatically uploaded from the NIR scanner, Chemometric Brain uses a qualitative approach to identify how the “fingerprint” of a sample fits within a standard library previously created for the same product and then highlights any variation from the specific product. Chemometric Brain has hundreds of product libraries available, as a result of over 12 years of work and research, which makes identification easier and can be rapidly implemented in any food company.

The solution has been developed and trailed over last years by a team led by Dr Beatriz Carrasco, CTO of Chemometric Brain, who recognised that the data available from NIR spectra could be used in many new applications apart from the initial scope of powder-based food and nutrition.

Dr Carrasco elaborated: “We are proud to offer Chemometric Brain to the food industry as a solution to democratise the use of a technique as NIRS which, as a technology, has been around for many years but never extensively adapted into the food sector due to the complexity and lack of easy-to-use solutions in the market. Chemometric Brain makes it possible to have a new vision of both ingredients and final recipes. This enhances the knowledge about them, which improves food safety and decreases risks.”

The system has been reviewed by the Wallon Agricultural Research Centre (CRA-W), a European organisation specialised in food research.

Dr Vincent Baeten, head of quality and authentication of products unit at CRA-W, said: “The Chemometric Brain is very interesting because it brings a global solution in the private sector to manage a large number of data coming from different instruments. We are testing lots of new algorithms at research level, and here the Chemometric Brain brings that into a single tool making that available to everyone. The graphic interface is also very helpful to make companies see what happens with their products.”