Eurofins launches DNA tracking tech to fight pathogens

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

The DNA PathoTracker traceability programme could better predict and potentially prevent costly recalls
The DNA PathoTracker traceability programme could better predict and potentially prevent costly recalls

Related tags Supply chain Food safety

Food firms hit by costly recalls have a new weapon in their arsenal to help minimise the damage: a DNA-based service to track pathogens in food samples, launched by Eurofins Genomics Europe.

Using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology, DNA PathoTracker would allow public authorities and private sector customers to identify, respond to and, in the future, minimise harmful pathogen outbreaks and recall situations, Eurofins Genomics said.

Mapping contamination instances is particularly important in preventing food recalls, which are extremely costly and reputationally damaging situations for affected brands. By implementing the DNA PathoTracker traceability programme, a company could better predict and potentially prevent such events and, in parallel, demonstrate its commitment to the safety of its products, according to Eurofins Genomics.

Whole Genome Sequencing

NGS, and particularly Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), has been globally accepted as the most accurate high-resolution subtyping technique, with demonstrated superior sensitivity and specificity compared to conventional methods. Using this technique on pathogenic bacterial strains provides unrivalled insight into their genetic relationship, said the firm. This genomic information, combined with data such as the date and place of findings, can help track down the exact sources of contamination and therefore avoid large-scale recalls.

Eurofins Genomics Europe said it believed that pathogen traceability was becoming increasingly important given the growing interlinks in global supply chains.

WGS delivers exact DNA sequence data for the entire genome of an organism. It is based on NGS, also known as high-throughput sequencing, which is DNA sequencing technology that allows for the analysis of samples and systems at a level that was not possible before. NGS machines can sequence large sample numbers more cost-effectively than traditional methods and, in the process, also generate more detailed genomic information.

Food Safety Briefing

Food Manufacture​ is holding an online Food Safety Briefing, chaired by Campden BRI chief executive Steven Walker, on 15 October at 3pm. The results of an exclusive annual food safety survey​ of thousands of food safety and quality managers on a range of issues will be revealed during the webinar. The survey takes 10 minutes to complete and one participant will be randomly chosen to receive £100 in Amazon vouchers.

Food Safety Briefing topics will also include the latest technology designed to combat threats posed by pathogens, food safety and quality controls post-Brexit and issues raised by allergens in food processing. To register your interest, email sbbqzna@jeoz.pbz​. 

Related topics Food Safety Emerging Science & Tech

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