A new method of food analysis can break down complex samples to identify exactly what is in them.

Current methods are usually based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification, and target only one or a few ingredients. These tests can only produce presence/absence results for the specific ingredients that are targeted by the test.

The new method uses a DNA-based Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technique. The DNA sequences obtained can be identified individually, making it possible to identify each ingredient contained in the sample, and even identify the scientific name of each plant or animal ingredient in the sample.

NGS allows for the identification of ingredients without the need to know the history of the supply chain or which species to specifically search for. Because of this, it can be used to guarantee that ingredients contain only what they are labeled to contain.

A working group, led by SGS, is currently developing an official test method to standardize how NGS can and should be used. For more information, visit http://www.sgs.com/en/news/2017/03/dna-and-next-generation-sequencing-ngs-for-food-authenticity-traceability-and-safety.