Food fraud associated with the intentional mislabelling of non-Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is a concern for consumers. “Maçã de Alcobaça” (Alcobaça apple) is one of the oldest Portuguese PGI products, characteristic of the main apple-growing regions in the country, being of utmost importance to develop traceability and authenticity tools to depict the PGI certification status of these products. Pulp multielement signatures were able to discriminate with moderate accuracy (65.7 %) different Royal Gala clones, grown within the same cultivation area. Moreover, Variable Importance in Projection Partial Least-Squares Discriminant Analysis (VIP-PLS-DA) allowed the discrimination of the Royal Gala samples from different PGI producers with 70.0 % accuracy. Apple PGI cultivars were also discriminated accurately (82.0 %). Expanding the approach to non-PGI production areas, several cultivars could be distinguished, according to their provenance with high accuracy, namely Starking (100.0 % accuracy), Granny Smith (100.0 % accuracy), Fuji (100.0 % accuracy), Royal Gala (86.7 % accuracy) and Reineta (90.3 % accuracy). The PGI fruit’s microelement nutritional traits highlighted their higher nutritional value, an important trait for food fraud reduction, informing the consumer of the product authenticity, and providing insights on the nutritional value of these high-value market products.
Bernardo Duarte, Juliana Melo, Renato Mamede, João Carreiras, Andreia Figueiredo, Vanessa F.Fonseca, Miguel Leão de Sousa (INIAV), Anabela B.Silva