October 2019

National Measurement Laboratory at LGC collaborates with Royal Society of Chemistry on insightful look at DNA techniques in food testing

Michael Walker and Malcolm Burns, leading scientists in the National Measurement Laboratory (NML) team at LGC, have, in collaboration with Lucy Foster (Defra), edited a new book entitled “DNA Techniques to Verify Food Authenticity”.

This book, commissioned by the Royal Society of Chemistry following the UK horsemeat incident in 2013, provides a fundamental understanding of modern DNA techniques as applied to food authenticity and adulteration testing.

The book includes chapters from Malcolm Burns, Michael Walker and Selvarani Elahi, from the Government Chemist team, as well as Timothy Wilkes, Victoria Moore, Gavin Nixon and Stephen Ellison from the NML at LGC. The editorial team collaborated with national and international experts in commercial and public laboratories, academia and regulators, providing international perspectives on quantitative analysis, the role of metrology and the need for harmonisation and standardisation.

Malcolm Burns, Principal Scientist & Special Advisor to the Government Chemist, commented, “The horsemeat scandal brought into sharp focus the need for accurate analytical testing tools that can mitigate food crime. Legislation developed to fight food fraud will only be effective if the analytical community has access to standardised testing methods producing fit-for-purpose results. The regulatory landscape is ever changing,  and this book provides the background behind a range of current and topical food authenticity issues, as well as describing the most appropriate use of cutting edge DNA analytical technologies, enabling food testing analysts and law enforcers to deploy these  more readily.”

The book aims to reflect current issues and cutting-edge techniques, including chapters on DNA extraction, Next Generation Sequencing and digital PCR. These will guide the reader in choosing the optimum techniques and approaches to address various aspects of food authenticity testing using DNA techniques, as well as providing a solid understanding surrounding the subject.