Providing safe food is one of the biggest challenges in the industry. Frauds happens all araound the world, the scandal of Operation Weak Meat is not the first. What to trust? How about a DNA rapid test?
Contrary to what it seems, we are not alone, food frauds happen all around the world. In 2013 Europe found itself in the middle of a scandal due to horse meat sold as beef and even multinationals like Nestlé had to explain and apologize in public. In the same year, in China rat meat was dyed and passed for lamb and a pig passed through beef. Meat is one of the champions of fraud because its raw material is expensive, conservation requirement permanent refrigeration and its a highly perishable food.
Thus, in the food and pharmaceutical areas, the market for tracking technologies is growing to an expected revenue of US$ 14.1 billion by 2020. Recall is the service for which the supplier inform the public that his products or services are defective. Journal of Food Safety registered 622 recalls in one year. Each one generates losses of about 10 million dollars. And of course, it also has a society loss, diseases caused by food implies productivity loss, medical treatment and even mortality.
On the other hand there are many attempts at prevention and detection. We’ve talked about some of them here and here. One of the most recent is the use of blockchain in food tracking (we talk about it here, take a look!). However, to analyze the food itself, the trend is the use of DNA rapid test.
DNA testing is the largest growth segment in the area of food safety testing
DNA testing is not new in itself, but its biggest bottlenecks are price, cost, portability, and time of results (it takes weeks to get ready). The innovation is that there is now portable DNA rapid test that produces results in just 5 minutes. The Israeli startup SnapDNA is one of the pioneers in this technology and its analyzes are used by the USDA to test contamination by Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, among others.
Another startup that competes in this market is the North American Clear Labs, through the DNA rapid test they attest the integrity of food and beverages. In addition to bacteria, it is possible to detect the presence of hormones, antibiotics, heavy metals and pesticides in the samples.
If you are a vegetarian, do not even think you escaped! Analysis of DNA tests found that 10% of vegetarian sausages contain meat. We still have a long way to go as a society, to learn to respect the consumer. Transparency in the food chain is no longer a differential, it is the minimum, and it is increasingly difficult to hide information from the consumer. We’re watching you!