How next-generation sequencing technology is improving food safety testing technology

Today’s food industry is focusing on transparency and a better understanding of food-borne outbreaks to prevent, not cure, their spread. Next Generation Sequencing Technology (NGS) for pathogen detection and strain identification is a recent development of food safety testing technologies in the food industry to address these needs.

Cost, scalability, collection time and accuracy are also key considerations for producers, consumers and therefore for the wider food industry when it comes to ensuring food safety.
Healthy and multi-stage processes that focus on monitoring critical control points, monitoring the environment and detecting pathogens in food are also used to establish food safety.

What does food safety mean?

“With regard to microbiology, food safety means the absence of pathogenic micro-organisms”,said Dr. Andrew Lynn, a senior scientist at Clear Labs. Today’s consumers expect transparency. They also hope that the food industry is implementing effective control measures to ensure that the food they sell does not contain pathogens, Lin added.
The food industry uses a variety of measures to reduce the risk of pathogens in its food, including acid, temperature, weather, oxygen and moisture, Lin said. Routine testing for pathogens is one of the main considerations for ensuring food safety. “The concept of barriers is that the use of multiple control measures reduces the risk of pathogens even more.Lynn explained.

The use of a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system to analyze their process and implement appropriate controls to ensure food safety is also vital. Lynn notes that companies must also comply with regulations and develop robust environmental monitoring programs.
In Europe, the European Commission states that procedures based on HACCP principles are mandatory for most companies operating food or feed in the European Union. “They are essential for the establishment, implementation and maintenance of a food safety management system that protects consumers from hazards.”Points out the European Commission, referring to the HACCP principles.

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