Sniffing Out the Source of Contaminated Food

New, probability-based method developed in the US

Experts at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) announce the development of a new method for detecting the sources of fresh food contamination. The technique could allow for this process to be carried out much faster than currently possible.

What the method does is analyze potential supplier-customer relationships, and the flow of products through the supply chain. All known data on a product are included in these models, which are based on probabilities.

The work was carried out by scientists at the SNL National Laboratories’ National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC). Their work is detailed in a recent issue of the International Journal of Critical Infrastructures.

In addition to tracking down sources of food poisoning, the approach could also help experts assess the vulnerabilities of food supplies and networks to deliberate, wide-scale contamination or poisoning.

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