Food authenticity is important for both public safety and economic reasons. Potentially dangerous substitutions or additions may be made to food in order to increase profit either by increasing production or by improving the apparent quality of the product. In central and southern Italy, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (MBC) is a vital part of the economy and is certified as having a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). Authentic MBC is made exclusively with fresh water buffalo milk. Due to high demand and limited seasonal availability, cow’s milk may be illegally added in order to increase production. The current European Community reference method for detecting adulteration relies on detection of bovine proteins in cheese but is laborious and often difficult to interpret. The method proposed by Dal Bosco et al. is based on the quantification of two micronutrients, β-carotene (a provitamin A) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2), via liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The levels of β-carotene and ergocalciferol are dependent on the milk source and can determine the % cow’s milk added to water buffalo milk in MBC production. This method could serve as a screening method to identify suspicious MBC producers.
(1) Dal Bosco, C.; Panero, S.; Navarra, M. A.; Tomai, P.; Curini, R.; Gentili, A. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2018, 66, 5410–5417.