Scientists at the University of Seville in Spain have developed a technique that can distinguish among beers made in Germany, Spain and Portugal with 99 percent accuracy.

The results were published in journal “Food Control.”

The researcher analyzed the chemical components of the beers and found that the content of iron, potassium, phosphates and polyphenols betray their nationality. While the differences in these contents can be subtle, the model the researchers built is capable of detecting them.

The efforts of these scientists are not just for fun and games.

The European Union (EU) has a legal framework called Protected Geographical Status, which stipulates that certain products (like Herve cheese) may only be identified/marketed as such in the EU if they are produced in their traditional regions (in Herve, Belgium).

The U.S. has a Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law that requires U.S retailers to label certain foods products, including beef, veal, pork, lamb, goat, chicken and fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables.

Studies like these have the potential to help authorities, customers and other stakeholders confirm the country of origin of such food and drink products.