Whole Genome Sequencing is helping us decode the risks to our food

Food is evolving. Meal-replacement beverages, 3-D printed pasta and meat grown in laboratories… These are just some of the paths it is taking. Whatever our take on it, as food changes, so will our need to define its safety.

For food to be food, it needs to be safe. Nutritious food provides us with the energy and nutrients we need to be healthy and active. To do that, our food must pass tests demonstrating that it does not contain levels of toxins or microorganisms that would harm us. Every year, over 420 000 people die and some 600 million people around the world become ill after eating contaminated food. With heightened global trade, there are an increasing number of challenges in keeping food safe as it travels vast distances and across borders. Yet, food trade is a useful and regular part of our world, which benefits both importing and exporting countries. International trade can improve the availability of nutritious food and compensate for poor harvests or other disruptions in food supply. It can also help support and increase jobs for food producers. A foodborne illness outbreak can disrupt or destroy the livelihoods of thousands of people. Making sure food is produced and handled in a way that keeps it safe throughout the entire supply chain protects people’s health, safeguards people’s jobs and creates a level playing field for trade.

Credit CDC

Read more at FAO…