Dubai labs will soon apply genome sequencing for more accurate tracking of food poisoning outbreaks, in a collaboration with regional test centers, officials announced on Sunday.
Genome sequencing is the process of determining the complete DNA sequence of an organism’s genome at a single time, which will allow the labs to determine what element exactly was the reason for the food poisoning.
Bobby Krishna, food safety specialist at the municipality, told Khaleej Times: “Sequencing tests will see the details of the bacteria and track its source. So for example, if we have salmonella behind an outbreak and we know the reason is eggs, genome sequencing will allow us to track the country where the eggs have come from.”
But tracking the source needs an elaborate database as Krishna said, “We will need to take the sequence of the bacteria and compare it with our databases. The more countries we have the database from, the stronger are our results.”
Dubai municipality will collaborate with labs of Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain to expand their database of genomes for more accuracy in the tests. This will happen on the upcoming 12th Dubai International Food Safety Conference, taking place from October 29 to 31.
The conference at which genome sequencing will be further studied will have a theme of “Global Food Regulatory Trends”, in which 60 experts will come from 23 countries to address food fraud and safety.