The Science

How do we prove where a product comes from? The truth lies within.

Science can tell you the true origin of a product. Plants and animals are creatures of their environment and what they eat or drink is absorbed into their flesh. And within what they eat or drink are natural concentrations of Trace Elements and Isotopes. This is what we measure.

It's an actual product test

Traditional types of traceability rely on packaging and labels which are themselves prone to counterfeit. 

Our scientific approach measures the product itself to prove where it claims to be from. Even when packaging is removed or counterfeit we can still help. 


Credibility of the science

The science used by Oritain originated in the criminal forensic field where it has been used in multiple investigations. The methodology has been thoroughly peer-reviewed and subject to numerous scientific journal publications over the last 20 years. Many high-profile cases substantiate the strength and reputability of the science. Examples include "Torso in the Thames" where stable isotope analysis determined the likely geographic origin of the victim: and the "Pong-Su Incident", where chemical profiling and isotope ratio analysis uncovered a new heroin producing region of the world. 

Our scientists are leaders in their field. So when you work with Oritain you can be reassured that the science we adopt is robust and trusted by institutions all around the world. 

Benefits compared to traditional traceability

Scientific traceability compliments traditional traceability methods. 

Traceability Chart

For the more technically minded

A products' origin can be identified using 'fingerprints' derived from the chemical compositions of plants and animals. These compounds vary naturally throughout the environment. 

Ratios of stable Isotopes (non-radioactive atoms of the same element that contain different numbers of neutrons such as nitrogen, carbon and many others) are indicative of different regions. Typically ratios of oxygen-18 to oxygen-16 or hydrogen-2 to hygrogen-1, which change according to temperature, altitude and precipitation, and ratios of carbon-13 to carbon-12 or nitrogen-15 to nitrogen-14, which vary based on soil conditions, feed consumed and farm practice for example, are examined by Oritain.

The process

These specific Isotope ratios among many others yield better results when analysed by Oritain, further adding the approach we take to verify the origin of a product.

Along with analysing Isotopes, Oritain also analyses Trace Elements that occur in products via uptake from the chemical composition of soils, water and feeds. The Trace Elements of a “fingerprint” from products include essential elements sodium, potassium, zinc, iron (Na, K, Zn, Fe) plus over 35 others.

By collecting samples of your product we analyse both Stable Isotopes and Trace Elements which are then run through our unique statistical models to determine the products origin. 

The method uses statistical models to determine a chemical fingerprint of origin and tests samples against this specification.  A decision limit is based on a suitable confidence interval of this specification to determine ‘consistent’ or ‘inconsistent’ with a claimed origin. The choice of this decision limit is based around maximising the True Positive Rate (the percentage of genuine samples that are correctly classified as ‘consistent’) and lowering the corresponding False Negative Rate of tested samples (the percentage of genuine samples that are incorrectly classified as ‘Inconsistent’). Due to the nature of chemical analysis and statistics, the models deployed by Oritain have associated error rates (False Positive / False Negative). Oritain adopts multiple processes to reduce these errors and always ensures an emphasis is placed on achieving a high correct classification of True Positives.  The specifics of these error rates will be disclosed to the Client following the completion of work and a statement of Fit for Purpose by Oritain.   

Our service is based on the testing and analysis of Isotopes and Trace Elements from samples of products and materials provided to us or collected by or on behalf of Oritain, to determine their origin or other characteristics. Samples may not be an accurate representation of the entirety of the products or materials, or of their origin or other characteristics, to which our services relate.