As well as the application to food irradiation, nuclear techniques can be used in the detection of contaminants and the verification of the origins and authenticity of food. This publication presents the findings of a joint FAO/IAEA coordinated research project (CRP) on utilizing isotope and trace element analysis, and other complementary analytical techniques, to characterize the origin of authentic milk and dairy products sampled by the participating institutes. The purpose of the CRP was to develop a methodology to implement a sustainable system for the independent verification of the claimed origin of food. Questions concerning origin are among the first to be asked when a food safety incident arises. The results of the project described in this publication will assist Member States to better communicate the qualities and origin related attributes, or terroir, of different food commodities. In addition, verifying the origin of food can help to prevent fraud and thereby reduce barriers to trade and protect and promote added-value products with a strong regional or national identity.