Next generation sequencing is beginning to replace traditional DNA methods in food safety testing. As this trend continues, sequencing will no longer be the time intensive process it once was. Laboratories will be limited by how quickly they can prepare samples, not how quickly they can sequence them. Automation will, therefore, play an increasingly critical role in the evolution of laboratory processes.

Critical stages of the NGS (next generation sequencing) workflow are already being automated by a variety of hardware and software innovations. Robotic solutions, for example, play an important role in addressing the substantial bottlenecks created by humans preparing
Continue Reading Lab robots crucial for end-to-end food safety data systems

The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) is calling into question both the findings and motives of the latest fish fraud study by Oceana, a global environmental group. The action marks a break between the two groups since they previously were largely in sync with one another over the worldwide problem of fish fraud, which is where lesser-value species are marketed as higher-value ones. fishingboat_406x250NFI claims that by finding 20 percent of all seafood mislabeled globally, Oceana’s latest report is both overstating the problem and unnecessarily calling for an expanded regulatory bureaucracy when enforcement of existing laws is all that is needed.
Continue Reading Oceana going overboard on fish fraud, according to seafood industry group

Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on FDA’s Consumer Updates page. A person commits a crime, and the detective uses DNA evidence collected from the crime scene to track the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness makes people sick, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that caused it.

FDA illus. WGS fingerprints
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Sound far-fetched? It’s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge technology called whole genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole
Continue Reading GenomeTrakr is FDA’s version of Hoover’s fingerprint file

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food safety unit is going to do more “species testing” on imported beef products from Iceland, Ireland, Poland, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom, but it will be doing more screenings than detailed DNA analyses, it says. In addition, USDA will be conducting species testing on more imported ground beef from those lots that are being checked for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli pathogens known for causing serious illnesses and sometimes death. USDA’s ramped-up testing is occurring as the targeted European counties continue to investigate how so much horsemeat has been passed off as beef in
Continue Reading USDA Doing More "Species Testing" on Imported Beef