Oregano, a widely used and popular herb, is particularly vulnerable to fraud. Less valued plants, adulterants that are often used for dilution, may introduce into this commodity additional contaminants such as pesticide residues. In this study, more than 400 pesticides were screened in a representative set of 42 genuine and 34 adulterated dried oregano samples collected from various locations across Europe. The results obtained by advanced mass spectrometry-based methods, showed, that some pesticide residues could be detected in virtually all tested samples, nevertheless, on average, higher contamination was found in the adulterated oregano samples. Increased incidence of insecticides such as cyfluthrin, permethrin and cyhalothrin was typical for these samples, moreover, pyriproxyfen was detected exclusively in adulterated samples. Thus, based on a critical assessment of pesticide profiles, suspected adulterated oregano samples can be selected for follow up authenticity testing.
- Food fraud