Spotting fake wine & spirits with a scan of the bottle

on 31/03/11 at 9:16 am

Wine

As customs officers in the UK raid an illegal vodka plant and the FSA sends out a warning about fake bottles of Jacob’s Creek wine, scientists in Leicester claim to have developed a counterfeit wine and spirit detector that works on unopened bottles.

Researchers from the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester are working with scientists at nearby De Montfort University to create a handheld device for detecting fakes just with a scan of the packaging.

Adapting the technology

Originally developed to detect counterfeit medicines, the technology is now being adapted to meet the needs of alcoholic drink makers.

With the help of a grant from the Food and Drink iNet, the scientists are building a handheld device that identifies fake bottles using a technique that detects differences between the characteristics of light reflected from printed packaging.

Food and Drink iNet, which supports food industry innovation, believes that the device could be of real benefit to the alcohol industry. “Being able to test a liquid such as whisky or wine for authenticity without opening the bottle would bring major benefits to the drinks industry,” said Food and Drink iNet director Richard Worrall.

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