Mars, IBM establish genomics consortium5 Feb 2015
Scientists from IBM Research and Mars have established the “Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain”, a collaborative food safety platform that the companies say will leverage advances in genomics to further understanding of what makes food safe. Protecting the global food supply is a monumental public health challenge, Mars notes: in the U.S. alone, […]
Scientists from IBM Research and Mars have established the “Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain”, a collaborative food safety platform that the companies say will leverage advances in genomics to further understanding of what makes food safe.
Protecting the global food supply is a monumental public health challenge, Mars notes: in the U.S. alone, one in six people are affected by food-borne diseases each year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, 3,000 deaths, and $9 billion in medical costs. Another $75 billion worth of contaminated food is recalled and discarded annually.
As the food supply chain becomes more global and complex, new, innovative approaches that use genetic data to better understand and improve food safety are emerging, holding the promise of unparalleled insight and understanding of the total supply chain. In support of this goal, the consortium will conduct the largest-ever metagenomics study to categorize and understand micro-organisms and the factors that influence their activity in a normal, safe factory environment. This work could be extended into the larger context of the food supply chain — from farm to fork — and lead to new insights into how microorganisms interact within a factory ecology and be better controlled by new data and science-driven practices.
As a first step, the consortium’s scientists will investigate the genetic fingerprints of living organisms such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses and how they grow in different environments, including countertops, factories, and raw materials. This data will be used to further investigate how bacteria interact, which could result in completely new ways to view supply chain food safety management.
“The Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain has the potential to revolutionize food safety, providing a powerful tool to identify and address new threats on an unprecedented scale, enabling critical breakthroughs in global food safety,” said Dave Crean, Vice President, Corporate Research and Development, Mars, Incorporated. “We are excited to be working with IBM Research on this, and look forward to welcoming additional partners in the future to help drive global innovation in genomics, food, and agriculture.”
While many food companies such as Mars already have rigorous processes in place to ensure food safety risks are managed appropriately, this pioneering application of genomics will enable an in-depth understanding and categorization of micro-organisms on a much bigger scale than has previously been possible.
“Genome sequencing serves as a new kind of microscope – one that uses data to peer deeply into our natural environment to uncover insights that were previously unknowable,” said Jeff Welser, Vice President and Lab Director, IBM Research – Almaden. “By mining insights from genomic data, we’re seeking to understand how to identify, interpret and ultimately create healthy and protective microbial management systems within the food supply chain.”
The consortium’s research will initially focus on select raw materials and factory environments but will ultimately extend up and down the entire food supply chain and include applications for farmers.
Understanding soil microorganisms, for example, will be crucial to helping farmers learn how to protect their plants from pathogens while ensuring healthy growth and nutrient uptake.
The first data samples will be gathered at Mars-owned production facilities, while IBM’s genomics, healthcare and analytics experts will utilize IBM’s Accelerated Discovery THINKLab, a unique collaborative research environment, for the large-scale computational and data requirements of this initiative. Beyond the research, data and findings will be presented in a systematic way to enable affordable and widespread use of these testing techniques.
As the food supply chain becomes more global and complex, better approaches to ensuring safe food are needed, this consortium aims to take food safety to a new level through unparalleled insight and understanding of the total supply chain.
The consortium will be adding additional members from academia, industry and government.
Glanbia announces performance nutrition ingredients
25 May 2018
Glanbia Nutritionals has announced what it describes as two new pioneering and innovative performance nutrition ingredients for formulation in functional beverages in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.Read more
Ecotrophelia UK shortlist announced
24 May 2018
The growing trend for plant-based diets has inspired the teams that have entered this year’s student food innovation competition – Ecotrophelia UK. All five of the shortlisted products are meat-free and four are also vegan.Read more
Healthcare continuum drives Lonza growth
10 May 2018
Lonza has reported what it describes as a positive start to 2018 with businesses along the healthcare continuum as growth drivers.Read more
Arla enters breakfast food-to-go market
9 May 2018
Arla Foods is set to launch into the breakfast food-to-go market with the introduction of its new Milk & Oats range of ready to drink beverages.Read more
Eurofins to acquire Covance Food Solutions
7 May 2018
Global life sciences company LabCorp has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement under which Eurofins Scientific will acquire the Covance Food Solutions business from LabCorp for $670 million.Read more
Engaging with the Instagram generation
3 May 2018
Colourful, exotic and unusual foods are on the rise as a growing number of consumers look for food experiences they can share on social media.Read more
New shake makes children taller
1 May 2018
Nutritional Growth Solutions is introducing Healthy Height, a kids’ protein shake the company says is clinically shown to improve children’s height, to the European market.Read more
Mintel: Europe leads on private label launches
27 Apr 2018
Europe accounted for over half (57%) of all private label launches with premium claims globally in 2017, according to new research from Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).Read more
Ohly launches maple syrup powder
1 Aug 2016
Ohly has launched a new Maple Syrup Specialty Powder. The latest addition to the ProDry range is said to deliver authentic maple syrup flavour and sweetness in a free flowing powder form.Read more
Welch's extends FruitWorx
8 Jul 2016
Welch’s Global Ingredients Group has launched FruitWorx Concord Grape Juice Powder, extending a range that already includes a range of Concord and Niagara grape-based fruit pieces, flakes and pastes.Read more
Are you a supplier
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation