Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) – Authenticity testing at its best

The first UKAS accredited (ISO 17025) testing laboratory for fish and meat speciation using NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) technology.

Food fraud is estimated to cost up to £11 Billion per annum in the UK alone. Adulteration and substitution have been particularly prevalent in the protein sector where cheaper alternatives of fish have been substituted and mislabelled as premium product and where lower value meats have been mixed with premium products to reduce cost and increase volume (as in the 2013 European horse meat scandal).

In response to the major deficiencies in supply chain and audit procedures highlighted by   these cases the British Retail Consortium (BRC) introduced vulnerability assessment within Global Standard Food Safety Issue 7, which requires companies to assess and annually review the vulnerability of raw materials to adulteration within their supply chain.

As a market leader in authenticity testing, SYNLAB have pioneered the development of novel molecular diagnostics to address these increasingly complex issues. Our latest advance, developed in collaboration with the University of Manchester and Syngenics, uses a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology similar to that used to sequence human genomes. Industry experts recognise this technology across Europe as the most reliable DNA based method for multi-species identification in complex meat and fish products. The SYNLAB NGS test overcomes the current limitations of PCR and ELISA based methods, which require that each potential contaminant is assessed in a separate screen. SYNLAB NGS technology is able to detect and specifically identify in excess of 7000 species in a single test, reducing costs to our clients and expanding their ability to detect contamination and adulteration.