Have you ever heard that moonshine will make you go blind? Today, even your favourite, top-shelf liquor may be just as much of a risk.
During the Prohibition era in the US, it was not the home-distilled liquors that were dangerous. To increase profits, cheap and poisonous industrial alcohols were added to spirits, often leading to blindness and death.
Similar practices exist today, with estimates that 30% of the alcoholic beverages consumed in the world are illicit, risking manufacturers’ brand reputations and consumers’ health.
Everywhere we look in the industry, we see issues with counterfeit, adulterated, or knock-off products. The alcohol industry is no different.
Adulterants include both inexpensive solvents for removing paint and ethyl rubbing alcohols with the same intoxicating component as alcoholic beverages (ethanol), but intentionally have contaminants (denaturants) to make them unsafe for human consumption.
Common intentional additives in these denatured alcohols are methanol, methyl-ethyl-ketone and iso-propyl alcohol. Depending on concentration, denaturants are exempt from quality processes and costly taxes, which make them attractive to counterfeiters.
So, to assist spirits distributors and distillers alike, reliable spectral sensing technology has been developed to identify counterfeit liquors.
Previous studies by Ocean Optics have demonstrated that brands of whisky and liquors produce specific UV-Visible range spectra but the UV-Visible range cannot be used to differentiate among different alcohols with the necessary precision.
In this special study, Ocean Optics investigates the feasibility of using a mid-infrared spectral sensor to detect small amounts of denatured alcohol in liquors.
Ocean Optics’ new MZ5 is a mobile, on-site device that can give real-time results with no sample preparation. The Ocean MZ5 is a miniature ATR spectrometer with measurement capabilities from 1818-909 cm−1 (5.5-11 μm).
This fully self-contained instrument — including sample interface, light source and detector — provides a compact, fast and scalable alternative to traditional FTIR spectroscopy.
To learn more and access the full study, please go to http://blog.oceanoptics.com/decoding-dangerous-drinks-with-spectral-sensor
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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