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Method Verification of the LOD Associated with PCR Approaches for the Detection of Horse Meat

05 Sep 2014
Molecular Biology Research Analyst, Eloise Busby, has recently been published as first author on an important paper in the Journal of the Association of Public Analysts.
‘Method Verification of the LOD Associated with PCR Approaches for the Detection of Horse Meat’ describes how the LOD (Limit of Detection) was evaluated with respect to three of the PCR methods used by Public Analysts for the determination of horse meat as part of the original UK beef product survey in 2013.
The survey, commissioned last year by the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) was part of a co-ordinated response to the EU horse meat issue. UK Public Analysts use a number of PCR-based approaches for the detection of horse DNA. However, the LOD of these approaches are often different, not robustly defined, or expressed using different measurement units The LOD of methods used in the UK Survey needed to be robustly tested and qualified so that results obtained from the samples could be interpreted with confidence.
Using a range of gravimetric preparations of authenticated meat materials, the LGC study set out to evaluate the LOD of the three methods used by Public Analysts for the horse meat survey last year, in terms of uniform w/w (raw horse meat in a raw beef (meat) background) sample measurements.
Summing up in her recent paper, Eloise concludes that, “results showed that all three methods were capable of reaching an LOD of less than 0.1% w/w raw horse meat in a raw beef (meat) background if Quality Procedures and Good Laboratory Practice for molecular biology methods were adhered to. This helped afford good comparability of results for these three methods, and in turn contributed to ensuring that the results from the UK Survey of beef products in 2013 were interpreted with confidence.”
The paper can be freely downloaded here and the full Defra report can be found here.