Food fraud is more serious than one might think. We’re not talking about getting less patty than expected in a burger. This stuff is far worse: inedible elements like chemicals added to everything from milk to alcohol as a way to cut cost and turn a profit.

To filter out the real from the fake, companies are now relying on forensic scientists to get the FBI on the perpetrators. One route to justice is through a New Zealand company called Oritain, which has come up with a way to authenticate the origin of your food. The company’s liaison Rebecca McLeod explains how the system works in an interview with the BBC:

“It ties food and drinks back to their geographic origin, by measuring the geochemical fingerprint of say, an apple, as well as the fingerprint of the soil it grew in, and that of the surrounding atmosphere.”

In some countries like China and the Czech Republic, fake alcohol is not just a paranoid threat. Case in point: a 25-member fake wine scheme that preyed on businessman, and was subsequently chronicled in TimeOut Shanghai.

[via BBC]