Supporting food and timber producers, retailers and suppliers by utilising a range of analytical testing services
For over a decade, Agroisolab UK have been experts in the use of isotope analysis for provenance testing, counter-fraud and authentication of organic produce at the commercial level.
Our EN ISO/EIC 17025 accredited laboratory Agroisolab GmbH delivers world-leading isotopic technology to trace food products, combat illegal trade, authenticate exports, and underpin brand integrity.
How does it work?
Due to the most recent government advice regarding COVID-19, several of our staff are working from home. However, our office and laboratory services still remain open and operating as normal!
We use Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis (SIRA) to carry out a range of tests, including origin verification of products, organic verification of food and drink, and adulteration of products such as wine and olive oil.
It was discovered many decades ago that the ratio of stable isotopes in items like food and water tends to be location-specific. SIRA uses this geographic-related variance as the basis of analysis to confirm the origin of a sample.
Click here to see our range of tests.
How does SIRA work?
SIRA can be summed up in one idiom – you are what you eat.
Natural products such as food, water, meat and timber, are made up of the elements eaten or consumed. Stable isotopes are part of these elements and are location-specific, allowing our scientists to decode the origin of the product.
Organic verification with SIRA works by measuring the nitrogen of the product, since organic fertilisers and mineral fertilisers contain very different ratios of nitrogen.
In the event of testing for origin, Agroisolab uses databases, made up of collected reference samples, to match against products we receive from our customers.
For more information on the science of SIRA, click here.
How can SIRA help my brand/suppliers?
SIRA is a verified scientific method used by major retailers and government factions to authenticate and trace product origins.
Whether it’s checking that your spring onions are organic, or verifying that the oak from your oak flooring was grown in the USA, Agroisolab can offer you the tools you need to reassure your customers that you are taking steps to ensure the integrity of your supply chain against fraud.
We are dedicated to not only assisting suppliers and retailers, but also wildlife crime prevention bodies. Agroisolab is proud to currently work alongside the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in verifying the locations of timber from suspected illegal logging, and also the origin of ivory from suspected poaching.
Projects that have involved Agroisolab
Over the years, Agroisolab has been involved in many different projects with retailers, suppliers and government bodies. Here are some of the projects we have been involved in:
The US Forestry Service, USAid and the US State Department for Conservation and Water (Forestry) funded a drive to build a library of timber samples which will benefit technologies used to combat illegal logging. Agroisolab assisted by collecting oak samples for reference databases.
Since 2009, Agroisolab have worked with AHDB to develop the use of stable isotope analysis to test and verify origin claims made on packing e.g. British Pork and ensure legitimate supply. The database is now so extensive that regional traceability is possible.
The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, University of Regensburg, Goethe-Institut Hamburg, WWF, BFN (Germany) and Agroisolab teamed up to create an online tool for estimating the origin of ivory using stable isotope ratios.
Isotope testing is recognised as an important tool to fight the illegal timber trade and provide supporting evidence of legitimate trade. Agroisolab GmbH provided isotope testing to verify or disprove the origin declarations of timber products in WWF’s project.
How have stable isotopes helped in legal cases?
Agroisolab assists many companies and suppliers before issues become legal cases, but we have also utilised stable isotopes in providing evidence in court situations, including, among others:
Caviar smuggling in Cologne – Agroisolab GmbH used isotope testing to show that a supply of Beluga caviar was imported from the Caspian region rather than being German-farmed as declared. The analysis was used as evidence, and the trader imprisoned for one year.
Pesticide origin – In 2013, Agroisolab provided expert witness evidence in a German court over the issue of pesticide country of origin.
Christmas tree origin – In an ongoing legality issue, Agroisolab is making continued appearances in court over the origin of Christmas trees in Austria.
Current issues in the world are a helpful indication of possible problems within industries. With our free newsletters we offer a comprehensive view of recent news stories regarding fraud or economic shifts in food and timber.
More about us
Agroisolab (formally Longhand Isotopes) became involved in isotope technology in 2003 and has since grown to encompass testing a wide variety of items, including food, wine, ivory, timber and cotton, among many other products.
Our lead scientist, and still majority shareholder, Dr M. Boner, is based at Agroisolab GmbH, and researched the authentication of beef, using SIRA, for his doctorate. Since the award of his doctorate, Dr Boner has worked on many governmental and international authentication projects, including a project against illegal logging by the Global Timber Tracking Network and the BPEX pork database.
Agroisolab UK is based outside of Malton, North Yorkshire, and Agroisolab Germany is based in Jülich, near Cologne.
How do I contact Agroisolab?
Our contact details can be found here. Our office is open from Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm. We are open to any queries you may have about using stable isotope testing and are happy to discuss testing with you.