The April / May issue of Food Safety Insights in Food Safety Magazine includes our review of the major trends that have been driving food safety testing over the past 4-5 years.
In the article we identify four major trends that have driven the food safety testing market during this timeframe, including 1) continued growth in overall demand for food testing, 2) growth and changes in the volume and types of environmental monitoring, 3) outsourcing and growth in commercial lab markets, and 4) Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS)
The food safety testing market has been marked by a number of “mega-trends” over the past 25-years, including the dramatic growth in testing volumes in the 1990s, the emergence of rapid test methods and the conversion of test volume to these instrument-based rapid methods – such as PCR and immunoassay – from traditional media-based growth methods to these current trends we are seeing that are changing environmental monitoring, fueling the expansion of outsourcing and the impact and use of WGS – particularly the use by regulatory agencies.
These current factors are working together to change how we look at and view food safety testing. This includes viewing EM as a more strategic process that can be used to identify and eliminate sources of contamination rather than just a check on current conditions. As part of this increased focus on control, the outsourcing of testing to commercial labs works to get pathogens out of the plant, but this outsourcing also allows processors to take advantage of their commercial lab partners expanded analytical capabilities and to also consider laboratories as their strategic partner -to get their help in decision making and not just a testing vendor.
We also point out the dramatic impact of the use of WGS. The impact from WGS comes from its use by regulatory agencies – such as FDA and CDC – and its ability to compare the source of food safety illness from patient samples back to the identification of the causative pathogen in food. This development is one of the key factors driving the increase in testing and especially driving the increase in environmental monitoring volumes. But as we will publish in the next issue of Food Safety Magazine (Jun/July) the use of WGS by the processors themselves is still at a very low level and not growing.
See more in the article in Food Safety Magazine at https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/aprilmay-2020/analytical-testing-in-food-safety-continues-to-grow/