retail news in context, analysis with attitude

National Public Radio has a piece about something called an “optical stable isotope analyzer," which it says is “a not-too-sexy name for a device that could provide a lot more certainty about a product near the end of its long journey to the consumer.”

According to the story, this gizmo is “already in use to measure air quality and detect gas leaks,,” and has been determined by Picarro, the company that created it, to also detect isotopes in food.

NPR explains that “hydrogen, oxygen and carbon — found in everything from hamburger to oranges — leave a detailed signature behind illustrating the weather, plant type, growing conditions and manufacturing processes. Picarro calls it ‘nature's barcode.’ By analyzing the isotopes — versions of common atoms that have slightly different masses – in this barcode, the Picarro device can detect minute differences in the chemical composition of foods ... Access to this information could be a boon for food companies, government agencies and consumers who want to ensure raw ingredients and additives are really what they say they are. The company says it has already shown that isotope analysis can tell the difference between grassfed and corn-fed beef and the origin of various oils.”
KC's View:
There is no excuse anymore for not being transparent. And there have been enough stories recently about how lack of transparency has gotten people and companies into trouble that this should be a no-brainer.