The aim of this work was to authenticate cow feeding system from fatty acid (FA) concentrations of cow milk. The milk samples and their related farming practices were collected in 156 commercial farms of the lowland area of the Piedmont Region (North-West of Italy). Milk sample was analyzed for FA composition by gas-chromatography. To define the main cow feeding systems, a hierarchical cluster analysis was performed on the proportion of different feeds in cow diet. Samples were classified into two main groups, according to the high or low the forage concentrate ratio (FC): HFC, and LFC, representative of extensive and intensive farming systems. Each group was divided into two subgroups: the HFC into FP and FH, in which the main forage was given as pasture, or hay, respectively; the LFC, into CR or CC, if concentrates were given as raw materials or as preformed commercial concentrate mix, respectively. The linear discriminant analysis (LDA) performed on milk FA concentration to authenticate the FC groups, correctly classified the 95.5% of samples in cross-validation. Promising results were found in the authentication of FP and FH subgroups (15.4% of error in cross-validation). The LDA was not able to distinguish between CR and CC milk.
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