Wageningen Food Safety Research analyses samples for the presence of viruses and bacteria. This concerns bacterial and viral pathogens in food and feed.
For example, we can get sick of bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria and viruses such as Hepatitis A and E and Norovirus.
Relationship between infection and cases of illness
To effectively combat pathogens such as bacteria and viruses in the food industry, it is important to know the origin of the pathogens. WFSR has been using the molecular typing technique WGS (whole genome sequencing) for this purpose since 2017.
Bacteria from food versus bacteria from patients
With WGS we can detect pathogens in cases of disease related to food such as Listeria and Salmonella. We work together with RIVM and have set up a database in which data is being shared. The RIVM fills the database with data from bacteria isolated from patients and WFSR with the data from bacteria isolated from food. For example, if a listeria bacteria is found in meat products during an inspection by the NVWA, the DNA profile of this bacteria is stored in the database. You can then compare this DNA with the DNA of infected patients that are also stored in the database. If you have a match, you know the source of the infection.