Whitepaper: Whole Genome Sequencing for food safety FSA Chief Scientific Advisor Report and 2013 Listeria pilot study
Dr Edward Hayes of Fera assesses the impact of the FSA Chief Scientific Advisor Report and 2013 Listeria pilot study and looks to what the future holds.
A report from Dr Guy Poppy, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Food Standard Authority (FSA), has been a driver in seeing Whole-Genome Sequencing (WGS) applied to food-safety problems. The FSA funded Fera in a project that saw the sequencing of 18 isolates of Listeria spp. from the 2007-08 Red Meat Survey, with these analysed along with 100 other genomes. It also identified clusters from different outlets of the same retailer, and the same farm, reconstructed metabolic pathways and identified genes that may have promoted evolution of antimicrobial resistance.
The benefits to the industry of this sequencing include: the identifying of multiple types vs continuous contamination with a resident strain, the monitoring of trends over time and the potential to implicate processes or equipment. At the same time the risk of recalls would be reduced and due diligence would be demonstrated. Fera is soon to be releasing a service to the food industry to enable it to use WGS to better understand contamination issues. It is keen to stimulate discussions with industry to shape the product as it evolves.
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