Testing for bacterial pathogens that cause foodborne illness is common in today’s food industry. Viruses such as norovirus (NoV) and Hepatitis A (HAV) can be sources of foodborne illnesses, but testing for these viruses in food is much less common.

Norovirus is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the United States, accounting for 58% of foodborne illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus causes between 19-21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis yearly, contributing to an estimated 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths each year. 

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Mérieux NutriSciences and Biofortis are excited to welcome our new Principal Scientist, Oliver Chen, PhD, formerly the Interim Director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University. Oliver is a great addition to our science team, assisting our research sponsors with their clinical nutrition projects. We sat down with Oliver for a quick Q&A to pick his brain on some important topics in the industry.
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My previous post, “How Reliable is Your Supplier’s Non-GMO ‘Verified’ Claim?” raised the question of whether incorrect, unsubstantiated or fraudulent non-Genetically Modified Organism (non-GMO) claims would result in a recall, FDA warning or some other sanction. The answer is found in a greater discussion about accountability and liability within the food industry.

With summer fast approaching, let’s think of this in terms of a carnival metaphor. There’s potential for food manufacturers to get caught up in a non-GMO verification “shell game.” You might know the classic shell game, in which a pea is placed underneath three shells and then they are shuffled around to confuse the player. At the end, the player needs to guess which shell the pea is under. As you monitor your supply chain, “verified” non-GMO certificates from suppliers may be shuffled around in your supply chain and you may lose sight of the “pea,” or an ingredient that is not up to specification. Come one, come all – step on up and find the hot sample. Continue Reading

Here at Mérieux NutriSciences, our team of expert scientists upholds our mission of protecting consumers’ health through their daily work. Dr. Angela Nguyen joined our team this year to lead our molecular services laboratory, which covers our suite of services, including foodborne virus testing, Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), Vitek MS, Sanger Sequencing and Riboprinter Platform with bionumerics software. I recently met with Dr. Nguyen to learn more about her background, coming from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and where she sees the future of molecular biology headed within the food industry. Continue Reading

I’ll be honest – from time to time, I enjoy throwing on my teal yoga pants and visiting my favorite organic supermarket. I love perusing the endless rows of organic and otherwise non-Genetically Modified Organism (non-GMO) products adorning shelf upon shelf. With all of those “verified” and “certified” products smiling down at me, how can I not smile back? After all, like many shoppers, I place my trust in progressive statements on food labels, such as “Organic,” “non-GMO,” “Fair Trade,” “Hormone-Free,” “Allergen-Free,” and the list goes on. Before I leave the store, my cart is adorned with at least three or four items bearing one of these claims. Continue Reading

Co-authored by Upasana Hariram, MS

You may have heard the phrase “nutrient stability” before, but do you know what it means and how it applies to your products? Nutrient stability refers to the length of time a nutrient remains in a food product at a desired level. If you are declaring nutrients on your product’s label, then you need to understand the stability of your product’s nutrients. This applies to a plethora of product categories including, but not limited to, pet food, beverages, adult food products, infant formula, toddler food and supplements. Continue Reading

People are beginning to focus more on the sources and nutritional content of the food they eat, and this trend is carrying over to what pets are eating, too. The U.S. continues to dominate the pet food market, with about 44% of global sales in 2017, but in Canada, sales are anticipated to have a 2.2% growth in constant value sales over the next five years. Pet food labeling is regulated in the United States by the FDA and local state laws, and in Canada by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Industry Canada. However, neither of these countries provide uniform and rigorous regulations to monitor pet food labeling despite the booming pet food industry. Continue Reading

An Ever-Expanding List

California’s Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act, known more commonly as Proposition 65, is a law adopted by California voters in 1986. The goal of the new regulation was, to not only protect citizens from potential health hazards in water, but also protect them from exposure to any cancer-causing substances, in general. Since its enactment over three decades ago, the list of chemicals within the legislation has grown to include nearly 1,000 entries. The regulation requires businesses to publish a “clear and reasonable” warning prior to knowingly and intentionally exposing any consumer in California to a listed chemical. On food products, this warning must be placed somewhere on the food label. Keep in mind, Proposition 65 allows for a one-year grace period from the date a chemical is added to the list before a warning is required. Continue Reading