Leading Edge Genomics Supporting Regulatory Food Microbiology Objectives in Canada

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 15:30 - 16:00

The CFIA has an ongoing commitment towards the development of new or modified methods and techniques to improve the agency’s ability to analyze foods in a shorter period of time, to detect even lower numbers of bacteria which may be present in a food sample, and/or to provide more informative assessments regarding the identity of the bacteria present in a sample. The increasing availability of faster methods employing DNA based technologies has provided CFIA with the tools necessary to produce faster results. The Blais laboratory has led the way in the development and validation of DNA-based food microbiology methods meeting Canadian federal food inspection needs.  A notable achievement was the early adoption of DNA-based methodology for the definitive identification of food-borne pathogenic bacteria in regulatory food safety in Canada. These methods quickly confirm the presence of E. coli O157 (as well as other non-O157 verotoxigenic Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli, or EHEC), Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes. Dr. Blais will describe how CFIA is integrating next generation genomics technology in food inspection, leading to new approaches for food pathogen analysis, and placing the Canadian regulatory food microbiology testing labs on the leading edge of providing rapid and highly informative test results supporting food safety investigations.

Burton Blais, Head of Research and Development, CFIA