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Differentiation of Species of Meat in Particular Cooked Products by DNA Methods


As part of ensuring adherence to legislation on labelling and composition of food, tests are needed to detect the fraudulent substitution of meat in meat products. A reliable method that can identify and quantify the degree of adulteration in meat mixtures needs to be developed.
Several DNA methods are currently available for species identification in meat. The potential of these techniques for quantitation of meat species in cooked meat products will be evaluated.

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In order to address the issue of quantitation, data will be produced on total DNA and mitochondrial DNA yields following extraction from various meat cuts and offals (both fresh and processed) from cattle, sheep and pigs. Subsequently, three of the available systems will be assessed for their usefulness in quantifying meat species in meat mixtures.
The study will attempt to optimise the two existing methods, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to amplify a target region of the cytochrome b gene present in mitochondrial DNA (CAPS - cleaved amplifiable polymorphic sequences) and slot blot. After producing standard curves and testing known admixtures, data will be produced for method comparison and to assess the limit of measurement.
A real time PCR method using the Lightcycler machine will then be developed and tested using the standard samples. This technique is an improved method of DNA amplification that has increased sensitivity and simpler visualisation than traditional PCR.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="; target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.

Laboratory of the Government Chemist, UK
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