Food fraud and counterfeit cotton: the detectives untangling the global supply chain
Using science to ease consumers minds. The globalised world pretends to be small and honest and murky, with plenty of room to hide. But, for example, did you know that fraudulent products are in shops everywhere? Amid the complex web of international trade, proving the authenticity of a product can be near-impossible. But as Samanth Subramanian reveals, one company is taking the search to the atomic level. Here, he explores how the science used by Oritain was initially used in the criminal forensic field and helped analysts determine the likely geographic origin of the victim of "The Torso in the Thames." Now it is used as a top of the range traceability to give businesses peace of mind. "Globalisation, we were once told, would render every place in the world identical. Oritain's work reveals that the opposite is true. Every place is distinct – not just in its histories or politics, but in its elemental materiality. The hydrogen, nitrogen, strontium and carbon in a region can furnish such unique produce that firms and states will go to any lengths to exploit it. They will force children or detainees into labour, pump chemicals into the soil or the animals living on it, lie about provenance, devise counterfeits – the kinds of rot in supply chains that Oritain wants to help sniff out."
From The Guardian