In this research communication we describe a straightforward triplex-PCR protocol able to differentiate the origin of milk from three closely related species (goat, sheep and cow) in Halloumi, a cheese with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), and yogurts. Halloumi must contain at least 51% sheep or goat milk, therefore, the fraudulent adulteration of this cheese with excess of cow milk must be routinely tested. The assay employs one universal forward primer and three species-specific reverse primers giving rise to 287 bp (cow), 313 bp (goat), and 336 bp (sheep) amplicons, under the same amplification conditions. This protocol, when used to test a small number of Cyprus commercial products, correctly detected mislabeling in Halloumi (2 out of 6 samples were adulterated) and yogurt brands (1 out of 4 was adulterated). The suggested protocol is a reliable tool for identifying the origin of milk in Halloumi cheeses and yogurts and can be used in any laboratory equipped with a thermocycler and an agarose gel electrophoresis apparatus.
- Halloumi cheese
- species identification