Tamper-proof food traceability through direct imprinting of smartphone-readable data matrices onto food.
Owing to the growing concern nationally and internationally regarding food traceability and the authenticity of food products (their origin, processing and downstream delivery and storage), emphasis on tamper proof mechanisms of reliably determining this information is paramount within the food sector. Country of Origin and method of reading are major issues for the food industry, regulatory bodies and the consumer alike, particularly for internationally traded foods such as meat. Labels can be tampered with and products repackaged undermining consumer confidence and putting the consumer at risk of health related issues. To address these issues, researchers within University College Dublin have developed a novel labelling system based on the direct laser imprinting of data matrix or other formats onto a food product such as chicken breast fillets, prime beef cuts etc, using a novel food grade marking system. Using this technology, it affords the food processor, the retailer and the consumer the opportunity to access on-the-spot (real time) product information thus offering a secure tamper-proof food traceability systems for both local and global use.
Prognostic test for the early detection of Endometritis in cattle.
Early detection of endometritis in livestock to enable successful intervention and treatment of the disease before it becomes an economic burden. Substantial economic loss occurs within dairy herds as a consequence of persistent endometritis. The resulting treatment costs, reduced fertility, increased cull rates and animal welfare consequences collectively cost over €15 billion globally per annum. The key to the reduction of these costs is early diagnosis but currently detection methods are only effective after the consequences of persistent uterine infection have already occurred. Currently there are no reliable early diagnostic or prognostic tests for animals that go on to develop chronic or subclinical endometritis. Researchers within UCD and NIBRT have developed a prognostic/diagnostic assay for the early detection of endometritis in livestock based on the detection of specific changes in glycosylation patterns that are highly correlated with the occurrence of uterine infection. This opportunity has the potential to work as a valuable prognostic tool affording farmers and veterinary practitioners the ability to intervene before the damage caused by clinical disease manifests itself. It also has the potential to be used as a phenotypic marker to enhance innate disease resistance through selective breeding programmes.
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