SYNLAB Food Testing lead the way in authenticity testing

UKAS accreditation for fish and meat speciation using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology

22nd August 2018 – SYNLAB lead the way in authenticity testing. SYNLAB Food Testing announce they are the first UKAS accredited (ISO 17025) testing laboratory for fish and meat speciation using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology.

Well documented scandals in recent years have raised the profile and stringency of food speciation testing to new levels. Food fraud is estimated to cost just short of £12 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 or mislabelled as premium product, as well as lower value meats being mixed with premium products to both reduce cost and increase volume.

In response to major deficiencies in supply chain and audit procedures highlighted by such cases, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) introduced vulnerability assessment within Global Standard Food Safety Issue 7, requiring companies to assess and annually review the vulnerability of raw materials 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 advances use 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 further compliments and enhances existing PCR and ELISA based methods, which require each potential contaminant to be assessed in a separate screen. SYNLAB NGS technology can detect and specifically identify in excess of 7000 species in a single test, reducing costs and expanding the ability to detect contamination and adulteration.

SYNLAB are the first, and currently the only laboratory in the UK, to offer NGS fish and meat speciation testing accredited by UKAS to ISO17025. Our NGS program has been developed to provide shorter lead-time options to meet industry demands. SYNLAB Food Testing provides customers with a cost effective solution for the precise detection of adulteration and contamination of highly processed fish and meat products, with the added security that process and methodology are fully UKAS accredited.

Whilst NGS is clearly the most reliable method for complex processed products, in many cases existing PCR based speciation is sufficient for less complex matrices and single species tests. SYNLAB currently deliver an extremely comprehensive range of PCR based speciation testing from within a European network of food based laboratories. NGS technology complements this portfolio, and an accredited NGS speciation service enables SYNLAB to meet all of the major demands of the European meat and fish processing industries.

SYNLAB Food Testing are part of SYNLAB Analytics and Services which is SYNLAB Group’s division dedicated to food and environmental testing.  For more information on SYNLAB Food Testing please contact us on foodenquiries@synlabuk.com or +44 (0)845 1120 112, or visit synlab.test/food-testing/

* Source: “Minimising Fraud and Maximising Value in the UK Food and Drink Sector 2017” report by Portsmouth’s Centre for Counter Fraud Studies (CCFS)