How next-generation sequencing technology is advancing food safety testing technologies

Today’s food industry focuses on transparency and a better understanding of food-borne outbreaks to prevent rather than cure their prevalence. Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology for pathogen detection and strain identification are recent food safety testing technology developments in the food industry to address these needs.

Cost, scalability, time to gather results and accuracy are also key considerations for producers, consumers and, consequently, the food industry at large when it comes to ensuring food safety.
Robust, multi-step processes focusing on monitoring critical control points, environmental monitoring and detecting pathogens in food are also applied to ensure food safety.

What does food safety mean?

“In terms of microbiology, food safety means the absence of pathogenic microorganisms”,Said Andrew Lin, PhD, senior scientist at Clear Labs. Today’s consumers expect transparency. They also hope the food industry will take effective control measures to ensure that the foods they sell are free from pathogens, Lin added.
The food industry uses various measures to reduce the risk of pathogens in their foods, including acid, temperature, time, oxygen and humidity, Lin shares. Routine testing for pathogens is a key consideration for ensuring food safety. “Hurdle’s concept is that the use of multiple control measures further reduces the risk of pathogens “,He explained them.

The use of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system to analyze their process and implement adequate controls to ensure food safety is also essential. Lin notes that companies also need to consider regulations and develop robust environmental monitoring programs.
In Europe, the European Commission states that Principle Based Procedures (HACCP) are mandatory for most businesses operating with food or feed in the European Union. “They are essential to put in place, implement and maintain a food safety management system, protecting consumers from risks”,States the European Commission, referring to the HACCP principles.

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