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New DNA method detecting fish species: a tool for the feed industry and a step forward to better diagnostics on food allergies

13 May, 2013

This new nuclear DNA method will facilitate the legal use of fishmeal in pig and poultry (non-ruminants) feed while ensuring that fishmeal doesn't appear in feed intended for ruminants (e.g. cattle, goat, sheep)  where it is not authorised in the frame of the current feed ban. Single copy nuclear DNA is considered as more reliable for quantification purposes due to its more constant copy number in different cells from different tissues.

The development of analytical methods for the simultaneous detection and quantification of different fish species in food and feed is an urgent need in control laboratories. These new methods guarantee the accurate detection of fish products when introduced as feed for pig and poultry, which is the only authorised source of animal proteins but not often used in practice because of the risk of cross-contamination in feed mills. The reliability brought by these new methods will open the doors to new potential markets in the feed industry while operating in a safe framework following EU Food Law.

Labelling food allergens is an area that could benefit from the information gathered by using these new methods. In order to effectively test food products and assess their compliance with EU legislation, manufacturers have to declare all potentially allergenic ingredients present in pre-packaged foods. Since fish may trigger food allergy, the development of future diagnostics tests may benefit from the information obtained in this research. These JRC innovative methods contribute to improving Food Safety in Europe and further protect the consumer.

Read more in:

M.Prado,A.Boix,C.von Holst. Novel approach for the simultaneous detection of DNA from different fish species based on a nuclear target: quantification potential. Anal. Bioanal.Chem (2012) 403:3041-3050.

M.Prado, A.Boix, C.von Holst. Development of a real-time PCR method for the simultaneous detection of mackerel and horse mackerel. Food Control (2013) 19-23.

Latest update 13 May, 2013

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