NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Canadian government announced last week that its Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the University of Guelph's Biodiversity Institute of Ontario will team up to create new genomic and DNA barcoding tools to improve species identification.
The CFIA will contribute C$323,000 ($222,648) over 18 months to support the collaboration.
The purpose, said Canadian Minister of Health Jane Philpott in a statement, is to protect food crops and enhance food safety regulations — advanced species identification could help researchers detect plant pests earlier, and could also aid in the identification of mislabeled fish and seafood. Some of the funding will also go toward developing a program that could use genomic discoveries to modernize regulations around food safety.
"Canada is proud to invest in this important research that applies genomics to protecting our food supply and environment," Philpott said in the statement. "These projects demonstrate our commitment to using the best science to deliver evidence-based results that Canadians expect from our regulatory institutions."
This isn't the University of Guelph's first foray into the development of genomics programs to enhance food safety. In April 2014, the university partnered with Baltimore-based firm InstantLabs to co-develop DNA-based tests to combat seafood species fraud.