Coconut water is a popular drink. The best-tasting water is from young coconuts but it is difficult to preserve its delicate flavor and properties in a long supply chain. Mature coconut harvest predominates for a variety of purposes which are not directly related to coconut water production. How can you be assured that you are buying the genuine article, whether as a consumer or as a business?
That was the question posed by Julia Glotz in an article in ‘The Grocer’ in 2016 with input from the Government Chemist. It prompted a young student, Emma-Lee Johnston, to take up the challenge, supervised by IGFS emeritus Professor Duncan Thorburn Burns and Dr Michael Walker in the Government Chemist team.
The outcome has just been published: Authenticity and the Potability of Coconut Water- a critical review
The findings are open access so you can read the full paper but the take away messages are:
Coconut water is prized for its delicate flavour when fresh
Dramatic increases in global demand may jeopardise its authenticity
Its typical composition and methods to verify its integrity are suggested and a weight of evidence approach should be taken to assess coconut water authenticity
In particular sight of local standards and the European Fruit Juice Association AIJN acceptability criteria for coconut water is essential for an opinion on a sample of coconut water.
Experimental exploration of the use of the carbon isotope ratio of extracted protein as an internal standard for carbon SIRMS should be undertaken.
Michael Walker said:
It is relatively unusual for a final year undergraduate project to result in a peer reviewed paper. This shows how diligent Emma-Lee was and the benefits of the IGFS – Government Chemist joint supervision. The Government Chemist is now in a much stronger position to assess coconut water authenticity.
If you have a question or need advice related to food authenticity