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GALAB analyzes vanillin and vanilla compounds

Vanilla Analytics at GALAB

Vanilla is not only an important ingredient for food producers: Pharmaceutical and perfume manufacturers also frequently use vanilla flavorings for their products. The use of synthetic flavoring agents is becoming increasingly attractive – vanilla pods are expensive and often poorly available.

Research has shown that many products that, according to the declaration, consist exclusively of vanilla also contain other substances. That is why GALAB now offers vanilla analysis due to uncover a possible food fraud.

Vanilla: Second most expensive spice in the world

Saffron is currently the most expensive spice in the world – closely followed by vanilla. This is due to the extremely high demand: Foods containing vanilla are extremely popular with consumers. For a long time now, demand for vanilla has exceeded supply.

As a result, the price of vanilla has been rising and rising. In the last ten years, it has increased tenfold, so that vanilla was sometimes even more expensive than silver. This does not diminish consumer demand for products containing vanilla.

It is therefore becoming increasingly difficult to meet demand from natural sources, as a simple example shows. Vanilla ice cream is still one of the most popular types of ice cream in Germany. According to the regulation for ice cream, vanilla ice cream may consist only flavorings from vanilla. However, many products also contain other substances, so the declaration is simply not correct.

In 2020, Europol and Interpol conducted investigations in this regard. As part of the OPSON-IX action, they took a closer look at products containing vanilla. There were complaints about 17 percent of the products examined. This result shows that there is a need for action.

GALAB analyzes vanillin and vanilla compounds

To circumvent the high cost of natural vanilla, some food producers apparently rely on its synthetic counterpart. With our analytics we can determine the source. We analyze vanillin and vanilla accompanying substances by LC-MS/MS.

Natural vanilla consists of four characteristic components:

  • Vanillin
  • vanillic acid
  • p-hydroxybenzaldehyde
  • p-hydroxybenzoic acid

These occur in a typical ratio from which we can conclude that it is natural vanilla. Foreign additives change the ratio and indicate synthetic vanilla.

As part of the analysis we offer, we also test products for ethyl vanillin. This is a non-natural flavoring that resembles the aroma of vanillin, but factually has nothing to do with real vanilla and is not a component.

The determination limit for our analysis is 0.05 mg/kg. This enables us to reliably determine even a vanilla addition of less than 0.02 percent in a product.

For more information contact: [email protected]