Food safety

Food safety is an extensive scientific discipline that describes handling, preparation and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illnesses. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards. Food is able to transmit diseases from person to person, or it can serve as a growth medium of bacteria that might cause food poisoning. In developed countries there are complex standards for food preparation, whereas in less developed countries the availability of safe water is the main issue. In theory, food poisoning is 100% preventable; according to the WHO, there are five key principles of food hygiene:

- Stave off contaminating food with pathogens spreading from people, pets and plants
- Separate raw and cooked foods in order to prevent contaminating the cooked foods
- Cook foods for the appropriate length of time and at the appropriate temperature in order to kill pathogens
- Store foods at the proper temperature
- Use safe water and raw materials

The main goals of the Biomicrofluidics laboratory related to the field of food safety are the development of novel methods to detect foodborne pathogens and to provide help medical doctors, veterinarians and laboratory attendants. The consumption of food is evolving thanks to the growing population and needs. In order to protect the health of the consumers all actors involved in food processing are responsible for the quality of their product from farms to the cook. Foodborne pathogen testing and detection is a major concern for food industries. The process of pathogen detection generally takes place in two steps: the sample preparation (enrichment from high volume), and genotyping (the usage of new generation gene sequencing).

Our highlighted ongoing research project is to combine the traditional sample preparation techniques with the genotype sequencing within one microfluidic device. Our lab is dealing with the most spread foodborne parasitoses and Listeria.