By implementing stringent testing protocols, Fruit d’Or has taken bold steps to protect against whole fruit powder cranberry adulteration, a hurdle that threatens both the health and safety of consumers and long-term future of the cranberry industry. Testing for adulteration of whole fruit cranberry powders helps debunk the junk of inferior cranberry ingredients and products. This is necessary to ensure the purity of the starting ingredient and the efficacy of the finished product.
Consumers expect manufacturers to deliver on the quantity and quality of an ingredient necessary for the outcome they’re expecting. Most whole fruit cranberry products are marketed based on the proanthocyandin (PAC) content. The cranberry industry must guard against those companies that adulterate their products with less expensive PAC sources, such as grape seed extract, to raise the PAC content. These other sources contain PACs that do not have the e-linkages found in cranberry PACs that are necessary to achieve the biological activities associated with cranberry intake.
To protect against this adulteration, the three primary pillars of the cranberry industry – authenticity standardization and efficacy – must be strengthened through analytical testing. These pillars are inseparable; one cannot be addressed without the other two.
Unfortunately, many analytics tools can be fooled. Some will just calculate the PAC amount without being able to distinguish between those sourced from grape seed extract and cranberry. This is not sufficient for authenticating an ingredient or product.
But now, non-proprietary tools and tests exist that can measure PACs and determine if whole fruit cranberry ingredient is authentic cranberry. Fruit d’Or has implemented these technologies to ensure all their whole fruit cranberry ingredients organic Cran Naturelle and conventional Cran d’Or are authentic, standardized and efficacious. These sophisticated third-party tests include:
- DNA barcoding. This test is applicable for the authentication of the cranberry fruit. It proves that the starting material in cranberry ingredients is indeed cranberry. The test should be heavily considered for all materials of natural origin so that the processing of authenticated material may move forward accordingly. DNA barcoding is critical for unprocessed, raw ingredients because DNA may get broken down as the material moves through processing. That makes it much more difficult, if not impossible, to detect DNA in finished products.
- Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry. This tool authenticates PACs, addressing adulteration issues and allowing product manufacturers to determine shelf life based on PAC stability. This test can reveal a truer representation of what’s inside the raw materials and quantify how much adulteration is there . Its use will ultimately lead to higher consumer confidence and trust
These tools are the key to the future of both the nutrition industry and the long-term growth of the cranberry industry . Buyers, sellers and labs need to be educated on how to look at whole fruit cranberry ingredients’ unique attributes. Most standard specification sheets and certificates of analysis are weak because they are based on the most inexpensive assays. A deeper dive should always be demanded.
The developments and use of these analytical tools has significantly broadened the foundational understanding of the individual cranberry components. These tools are major breakthroughs for efficacy and authenticity. They help in the understanding of whole cranberry’s matrix and its different components. Using these valuable tools, dried cranberry juice will behave differently than whole fruit cranberry powder. These differences are reflected in the unique fingerprints of each product type. The isolation of the natural cranberry’s PACs is used as a calibrating method to support mass spectrometry, and to improve the accuracy of standardization and quantification.
These newer analytical tools have been peer reviewed. But to strengthen the cranberry industry, awareness needs to be raised of the need for these tools to protect against adulteration for both cranberry juice powders and whole fruit cranberry powders. Ingredient buyers need to ask more informed questions and not always focus on lowest price. Thankfully, manuscripts are accessible to the industry at large. This may help the industry adopt this approach and debunk the junk within the whole fruit cranberry industry.