In recent years, the demand for ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook foods has grown more and more as the time spent on home cooking has decreased. The principal supply chains involved are those dealing with meat, milk, and fish. Each supply chain has its own characteristics, but they share similar needs regarding product hygiene controls and the demand for a level playing field in the market.
With new labelling rules, products, and especially processed products, must ensure the hygiene and content of the ingredients. In the past, there have been cases where less valuable ingredients, after being processed (and therefore rendered unrecognizable) were passed off as of a higher quality. Thus, frauds were perpetrated not only against consumers but indirectly against other food producers, who operating honestly were incurring higher costs of raw materials. Today, these schemes are less frequent because of increased controls including the use of new analytical techniques based on DNA identification.
There are various parties interested in ascertaining the source and origin of products and raw material: the authorities responsible for food safety and fraud detection; customers who buy raw materials from the food chain and want assurance over description and quality; and the chains of large distributors who must ensure adequate quality standards of their branded products. The kits specific to these three supply chain categories, and which test both products and relevant working surfaces, are described in the genetic identification section.