Current UK legislation, designed to combat BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) and vCJD (variant Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease), requires that neuronal (brain and spinal cord) tissue from cattle and sheep is prevented from entering the food chain by removal at the abattoir. In addition, changes in the legal definition of meat will introduce labelling and authenticity regulations where enforcement requires an assay that is able to detect other non-meat components such as liver and kidney. Previous MAFF and FSA funded work has successfully developed a DNA based method to enable the specific detection of these target tissues and enable the differentiation of muscle from non-meat in food products. This technique exploits modifications in DNA since this is a very robust molecule, being relatively resistant to processing and can be extracted from processed food products.
The project seeks to build upon the success of this work to maximise assay sensitivity and robustness by the application of nested Polymerase Chain Reaction and real time detection techniques. This will then be followed by validation of the techniques, using admixtures that have undergone a variety of processing conditions to provide robust tissue detection assays, for use in future legislative enforcement and surveillance.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.