SGS partners with Biopremier to grow NGS availability

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

SGS said NGS DNA sequencing will tell you which meat species are in a hamburger in 1 test
SGS said NGS DNA sequencing will tell you which meat species are in a hamburger in 1 test

Related tags Polymerase chain reaction

SGS has partnered with Biopremier to deliver next generation sequencing (NGS) to the global food supply chain.

Biopremier has developed the NGS technique for species identification.

SGS said it has a network of more than 140 affiliates worldwide enabling faster growth for Biopremier through a formal partnership in an industry where customer trust is paramount.  

It added NGS services make identifying the biological content of food faster, more efficient and without the risk of false positive results. 

The purpose of the agreement is to expand NGS technology to promote the DNA sequencing technique for meat, fish, vegetables, spices and fungi.

“Our partnership with Biopremier is a real advantage for SGS’ food supply chain customers. It can help to speed up testing, reduce food fraud and improve food safety,”​ said Olivier Coppey, EVP at SGS. 

Growing role of NGS

Pedro Coelho, executive director at SGS Consumer and Retail Services Portugal, said it has worked with Biopremier in the same sector for many years and have often co-operated on an informal basis.

Using our sales force and network of key account managers we will introduce our clients to the performance gaps that exist between traditional PCR techniques and NGS,” ​he told FoodQualityNews.

“The major advantage for clients is the ability to identify the full biological content of one meat sample with just one test, instead of having to conduct multiple tests, one for each species that may be present.

“This partnership allows SGS to grow its food sector testing portfolio, and branch out into NGS, a new technology that will be of real benefit to our clients. Our hope is to build on existing provision and deliver this innovative service to the food industry, worldwide.”

The Biopremier NGS database has more than 15,000 fish species to compare against the sequencing results and continues to grow as more species’ DNA are sequenced and added.

SGS said potential benefits of NGS to the food industry are ‘immense’ as it is possible to test for and highlight meat and seafood substitution and allergen contamination with a cost-effective and timely process.

Traditional PCR analysis

Coelho said it believes NGS will replace polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the mid-term, as it grows in testing volume.

“Consumers are more demanding in terms of food quality assurance, therefore as the industry becomes increasingly complex, more advanced techniques are needed to identify gaps and fraud,” ​he said.

“In the near future, NGS will be able to provide much more information, beyond species identification. The technique has potential far beyond that which is in use today.

High investment and long term research and development are the main issues surrounding this technology.

“Biopremier has been developing NGS technology for more than 10 years and improving it every day to optimize their investment, as well as to develop new functionalities that widen the range of applications and products that it can be applied to.”

Meanwhile, SGS has acquired the assets and operations of Accutest Laboratories, the fifth largest full service environmental testing company in the US.

Accutest’s operations will add more than 600 employees and a national network of laboratories and customer service centers that spans 14 states. The operations generated revenues of $65m in 2015.

Frankie Ng, CEO of SGS, said: “SGS Accutest will focus on helping customers enhance their environmental reputation, manage risk and increase business efficiency.  

“We are committed to a seamless transition for SGS Accutest customers and ensuring the highest levels of quality and service going forward.”

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