FDA has shared a new video highlighting the innovative work of the Genome Trakr network which is transforming the way manufacturers approach food safety. The network, consisting of laboratories with whole genome sequencing capabilities, was established to facilitate the sharing of pathogen sequence data between public health agencies, academia, and the food industry, with the goal of preventing large-scale foodborne illness outbreaks.

According to FDA, whole genome sequencing lets scientists look at the DNA fingerprint of pathogens, bacteria that cause disease. FDA is increasingly using this technology to more rapidly identify foodborne pathogens and trace them to their source with unprecedented detail and clarity.

Contributing laboratories upload a pathogen’s genetic sequence, as well as information about where the pathogen was gathered, into the publicly accessible GenomeTrakr database. The information can then be used to speed outbreak investigations and to inform foodborne illness prevention strategies in food facilities and on farms.