The availability and use of an untargeted approach is of great importance. Experience tells us that when authenticity issues are involved, a targeted approach is not suitable, as it will only deliver a result for the species targeted. If a product contains any additional species besides those targeted by PCR analysis, no information will be available.
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A Changing Regulatory Landscape
Along with issues of authenticity, local regulators respond to increased concern about anything that can impact human health. This adds more layers of regulation to food markets.
Furthermore, today’s consumers are much more concerned about a product’s ingredients. There is often a financial concern that they are paying for something that is not as labeled, or is not what they paid for. Additional consumer concerns relate to allergens, food intolerances, species protection, and species sustainability, amongst others. Nutritional content is highly dependent on a product’s ingredients, and the full or partial substitution of any specific ingredient can impact this. Any of these concerns can be highly damaging to a food brand as consumers can rapidly lose confidence.
One of the biggest advantages of NGS testing is its untargeted nature that enables full knowledge of the DNA content of a food sample. In addition, virtually any kind of DNA sequence can be identified using the appropriate bioinformatic tools available. The use of NGS can have a huge impact on all matters related to food integrity including authenticity, safety, and traceability.
Dr. Gadanho is the global food molecular business development manager for SGS Molecular. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Pandiani is the global food molecular business manager for SGS Molecular. Reach him at email@example.com.