Creme Global at IAFP 2015 - Big Data Abounds

by Cian O'Mahony

I always enjoy the International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting, but this year I must say I loved it! There was no shortage of presentations and symposia that were right up Creme Global’s street. The scientific program was peppered with presentations and symposia on big data, modeling and food safety.

The only issue was that my colleague Conor McGauran and I were constantly faced with the dilemma of which talks to attend and which ones to miss – and what a constant headache it was all week!

Luckily it was a good headache to have. The conference began as it does every year, with pre-conference meetings for the Professional Development Groups (PDGs). Creme Global are involved in three:

  • Food Packaging
  • Microbial Modelling and Risk Analysis
  • Food Chemical Hazards and Food Allergy

Through these PDGs, scientific symposia are submitted and help scope the content of the meeting for the following year.

One of the central themes this year, and indeed one of the primary trends in food safety today, was the use of whole genome sequencing and metagenomics in food safety.

Whole genome sequencing in food safety involves determining the DNA sequence of bacteria that give rise to foodborne illness. This has huge implications for microbial identification, tracking the sources of outbreaks, and determining the likelihood of antimicrobial resistance.

Metagenomics on the other hand, provides a complete picture of all bacterial species within an environment, like for example a food or a manufacturing facility. This complete set of bacterial communities, or microbiome, has the ability to provide the scientist with all sorts of insights into how these bacteria are interacting with each other.

Both of these approaches involve huge volumes of data, and represent the next horizons of endeavour for both Creme Global and the broader food safety community.

We also had a poster presentation at the event, based on work Stefania Giammanco and myself completed, developing a predictive model to assess the impact of antimicrobials in ready-to-eat meats (see below picture and link to download poster).

 

We can’t wait to see what the program has in store next year!

Poster presentation is available to download here:
Predictive Models and Software for Listeria Monocytogenes in Ready-To-Eat Meats with varying Antimicrobial Use

 

Written by Creme Global on August 7 2015

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