Earlier this month, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. announced its involvement with the Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain--initially established last year by IBM Research and Mars, Inc. The consortium is combining advanced genomics with new informatics tools to observe microbial communities in food and detect hazards in the food supply chain that can threaten safety.

By joining IBM and Mars, Bio-Rad will offer expertise in chromogenic and molecular tests for food pathogens and food quality indicators to the consortium. Scientists in the consortium are investigating the genetic fingerprints of living organisms such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses and to gain a better understanding of how they grow in different environments and in raw materials. The data will help detect hazards that signal safety concerns earlier in the food supply chain to diminish the risk of contamination.

“We are pleased to join the consortium and look forward to gaining insights and developing new products and solutions that will protect the food supply,” says Norman Schwartz, Bio-Rad president and CEO. “We believe the combination of advanced genomics along with informatics will provide us with a greater understanding of microbiomes within the food supply chain and help advance the science behind food safety.”

“We look forward to integrating Bio-Rad’s leading technology into our efforts to map the genetic makeup of the food supply chain — from soil to table,” says Jeff Welser, vice president and lab director at IBM Research — Almaden. “By sequencing the DNA and RNA of simple food samples and their environments, we’re creating the tools necessary to establish the ‘gold standard’ for food and help health officials understand what triggers contamination and the spread of disease.”

“We are delighted to welcome Bio-Rad to the consortium and incredibly excited to be working with them and IBM Research to drive forward global innovation in genomics, food, and agriculture,” says Harold Schmitz, chief science officer for Mars. “The Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain has the potential to revolutionize food safety and help us identify and address new threats on a much bigger scale than has ever been possible. Bio-Rad will bring a new dimension to the consortium effort with their suite of advanced testing techniques and equipment. This type of uncommon collaboration will drive even greater capacity, insight, and capability in food safety science and help us achieve critical breakthroughs.”

Related article:
Mars, Inc. and IBM Research Launch Collaborative Food Safety Platform

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