Novel Detection Methods in Food Safety

This topic was moderated by Hau-Yang Tsen, Ph.D. and Vivian Chi-Hua Wu, Ph.D. and featured five lectures.


Chien-Shun Chiou, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Head of Central Regional Laboratory, Center for Research and Diagnostics, Centers for Disease Control, Taiwan discussed the development and application of molecular subtyping methods to surveil Salmonellosis in Taiwan, and shared findings that provided insight and understanding into an international salmonellosis outbreak through infant milk formula and accumulated large amount of PFGE and AST data that are useful in tracking the principal reservoirs for human salmonellosis and predicting Salmonella serotypes. Through the comparison of PFGE patterns with those in the database, findings indicated that pig is a principal reservoir for human salmonellosis in Taiwan and successfully predicted the serotypes for 99.4% of 862 Salmonella isolates collected in 2012.


Yao-Wen Huang, Ph.D., Professor, University of Georgia, USA discussed rapid detection of pathogens and toxins in the food system using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) with silver nanorod array substrates. Dr. Huang noted that the use of aligned silver nanorod (AgNR) arrays prepared by oblique angle deposition (OAD), as surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrates to detect food safety related substances such as foodborne pathogens, toxins, pesticides, and adulteration agents. Six foodborne pathogenic bacteria including Salmonella enterica serotype Anatum, S. enterica serotype Cubana, S. enterica serotype Stanley, S. enteritidis, E. coli O157:H7 and S. epidermidis in mung bean sprouts were detected using functionalized substrates with vancomycin. Dr. Huang shared that the results show bacterial species and serotypes can be detected and differentiated at the limit of 100cfu/ml within four hours.


Vivian Chi-Hua Wu, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, University of Maine, USA discussed pathogen detection using biosensors and nanotechnology, and noted that a variety of rapid methods have been developed to detect and screen foodborne pathogens. These methods include antibody-based methods, such as immunofluorescence, immunoimmobilization, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunomagnetic separation, and nucleic acid-based methods such as hybridization and polymerase chain reaction [PCR], as well as biochemical and enzymatic methods such as miniaturized microbiological methods and commercial miniaturized diagnostic kits.


Hua-Yang Tsen, Ph.D., Professor and Dean, College of Human Ecology, Hungkuang University, Taiwan gave a presentation entitled, “Development and Use of Molecular Methods for the Detection of Food Pathogens, Virus, and Biological Species in Foods.” Dr. Tsen discussed various molecular detection techniques, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), multiplex PCR, DNA probes and biochips, real-time PCR (Q PCR), reverse transcription (RT) Q PCR, and insulated isothermal PCR (ii PCR), specific for the detection of different bacteria or biological species. Dr. Tsen noted that certain techniques have been established in order to trace the contamination origins of pathogenic strains and to conduct epidemiological study, including genotyping techniques such as PFGE, RAPD, MLST.


Tzann-Feng Lin, Ph.D., President, TTL, Taipei, Taiwan discussed systematic quality detection for functional foods, using the example of Monascus products. Dr. Lin shared study conclusions that Monascus TTL-123 is a suitable source ingredient for the production of Monascus health products, and emphasized that standardized safety analysis methods and understanding of functionality and beneficial effects are required for quality control of functional food products.


Food safety requires proper oversight

Source:Taipei Times (

By Wu Chuan-feng 吳全峰

Taiwan’s food safety management system has gone through great changes following a series of crises and a three-tiered food safety quality control system has been set up, consisting of industry self-management, audited accreditation and validation units in addition to government examination and testing.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has proposed the cross-ministerial “Five Links of Food Safety” program, which includes source control measures, production management, increased inspections, the imposition of heavy penalties and public monitoring.

While this system for managing food safety might seem complete, problems could remain, such as an overly complex control framework and insufficient risk communication.

Take the recent issue of dioxin-tainted eggs. The Food and Drug Administration was praised for announcing that thecontamination of eggs had been discovered and for removing thousands of kilograms of eggs from store shelves as a precaution..

However, one of the follow-up measures was that the Council of Agriculture decided to include testing for dioxins in the Council of Agriculture’s Certified Agricultural Standards (CAS), in a sign that the government has a fuzzy understanding of food safety inspections and food labeling certification.

First, the CAS label is not a legally required certification and companies in the food industry are free to choose whether to apply for it. Including dioxin testing in CAS certification would thus only guarantee that some businesses who specifically apply for the label meet the standards.

Guaranteeing food safety is one of the government’s responsibilities, so whether or not agricultural products carry CAS labels, they should still adhere to basic food safety standards and everyone should be able to consume them with no concerns for their health.

CAS labels certify “excellence” beyond basic food safety standards. The council’s inclusion of dioxin testing in CAS testing thus does not relieve the administration of the responsibility to ensure that all egg products are free from dioxins.

Perhaps it is due to time concerns that the government has talked less about verifying contamination sources and ensuring that egg products do not contain dioxins.

Yet another example is unscrupulous business owners relabeling expired nut and meat products. Businesses refuse to cooperate with inspections or respond to requests for interviews, thus the government is often unable to force them to cooperate and can only issue fines after violations have occurred.

In addition, while waiting for a formal verdict, there are no appropriate channels for the government to provide information to the public, including informing people about how a business has broken the law and which improvements it will be required to make.

That is why it is frequently impossible to set up the appropriate communication channels between the authorities and consumers.

Since consumers cannot learn about violations of law by businesses at an early stage, they must in part rely on the media to monitor food safety. That is not a positive development that would help the establishment of a transparent and accountable food safety management system.

Food safety management is a complex issue, but the management framework must provide a clearer division of authority and more information transparency. Without improvements, there is a risk that things would only get increasingly unclear and complicated.

Wu Chuan-feng is an associate research fellow in the Institutum Iurisprudentiae at Academia Sinica.

Translated by Eddy Chang and Perry Svensson

Food Contamination

This topic was moderated by Cheng-Ming Chang, Ph.D. and Yi-Chen Chen, Ph.D. and featured four lectures.


Ching-Cheng Chang, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, National Taiwan University, Taiwan gave a presentation entitled, “The Emerging Food Contamination Issues and Policy Implications in Asia-Pacific Region.” Dr. Chang emphasized that regional collaboration and information sharing between countries in the Asia Pacific is essential to preventing food contamination and mitigating food safety risks, especially in light of recent food safety challenges in various Asia Pacific countries.


Alexander Mathys, Ph.D., Head of Bioeconomy, The German Institute of Food Technologies, Germany discussed bacterial spore control by innovative multi-hurdle technology concepts. Dr. Mathys stated that new processes need to be developed to minimize the impact of the intensity of food processing on the quality of food products. Dr. Mathys suggested that these solutions be combined with assessments of physical and chemical challenges in order to promote adequate bacterial spore inactivation or inhibition during the shelf storage period for processed foods. This innovative concept utilizing multi-hurdle technology can greatly help to control bacterial spore contamination and ensure safe processed foods.


Alexander Panin, Ph.D., Director, The All-Russian State Center for Quality and Standardization of Veterinary Drugs and Feed, Moscow, Russia discussed food security and food safety and the role of veterinary services. Dr. Panin discussed the growing global population and predicted that due to this increase, there will be a 50% increase in consumption of animal protein by the year 2020. In order to meet this growing demand, Dr. Panin highlighted the importance of developing new approaches to control the safety of animals consumed for food, in order to promote food security and ensure a safe global food supply.


Jae-Hyung Mah, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Food and Biotechnology, Korea University, Korea discussed the safety of fermented soybean products and the occurrence of biogenic amines. Biogenic amines are nitrogenous compounds produced by microbial amino acids in various foods which may cause disease in humans. Dr. Mah addressed possible situations in which biogenic amines can accumulate in fermented foods, and noted that fermented soybeans particularly can contain abundant dietary amino acid precursors of biogenic amines, though most often this contamination is within acceptable levels.


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Novel Detection Methods in Food Safety

This topic was moderated by Hau-Yang Tsen, Ph.D. and Vivian Chi-Hua Wu, Ph.D. and featured five lectures.   Chien-Shun Chiou, Ph.D., Principal Investigator,...


Food safety requires proper oversight

Source:Taipei Times ( By Wu Chuan-feng 吳全峰 Taiwan’s food safety management system...


Food Contamination

This topic was moderated by Cheng-Ming Chang, Ph.D. and Yi-Chen Chen, Ph.D. and featured four lectures.   Ching-Cheng Chang, Ph.D., Professor, Department of...

Investigation into dioxins in eggs is to focus on feed

Investigation into dioxins in eggs is to focus on feed

Source: Taipei Times ( Staff writer, with CNA An investigation into dioxins that contaminated...