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24 FEBRUARY, 2004

bioMérieux launches its first molecular multi-detection test for food and feed analysis : FoodExpert-ID®

Marcy l'Etoile, France - February 24th, 2004. bioMérieux announces the launch of FoodExpert-ID, the first high-density DNA chip for food and animal feed testing. The FoodExpert-ID test, powered by Affymetrix® GeneChip® technology, will make it possible to verify the animal species composition and the authenticity of raw or processed food and animal feed.
 

   

“Our new test, FoodExpert-ID, is a real breakthrough for the food and feed industries. By providing rapid multi-species identification, FoodExpert-ID will help to improve the safety of food for human and animal consumption, thereby contributing to consumer health protection” says Dr. Christophe Mérieux, Vice President and Director of Medical Affairs and Research at bioMérieux.

Changes in food and feed legislation are creating new needs and imposing new constraints on these industries. FoodExpert-ID will respond to these requirements by ensuring accurate labelling and allowing complete traceability throughout the industrial process, from animal feed to the end products released from production sites. The new test will help the food and feed industries comply with European and US legislation, by determining the species composition of a product using the latest advances in molecular biology.

FoodExpert-ID, developed by bioMérieux, is the first molecular high-density multi-detection test designed specifically for the food and feed industries. Using highly innovative techniques and providing extremely accurate results, FoodExpert-ID will change the way food and feed analysis can be achieved. The FoodExpert-ID offer is based on a high-density DNA chip, the GeneChip, developed by Affymetrix, which supports 80,000 oligonucleotide probes specially designed by bioMérieux. FoodExpert-ID combines expertise in genetics, DNA technology, image analysis and bio-informatics, and is the result of a dedicated research programme by bioMérieux.

The innovative breakthrough in FoodExpert-ID lies in the test’s capacity to detect 33 different species of vertebrate, and to simultaneously identify animal products present in food and feed samples according to two taxonomic criteria: class (mammals, fish and birds) and species (beef, chicken, salmon…). Furthermore, FoodExpert-ID can be used to test raw foods as well as products processed at high temperatures and pressures, as is the case for some animal feed. These capabilities, therefore, go beyond conventional food analysis techniques, which can detect only a limited number of species, and which are less reliable when material from more than one species is combined into a single product.

The test report generated by the FoodExpert-ID software is based on the unique DNA signature of the product. This report constitutes the “Identity Card” of the animal species entering into the composition of the product, thereby providing a invaluable tool to ensure labelling accuracy. FoodExpert-ID contributes to traceability and quality assurance in the food and feed industry through species identification at every step of the manufacturing chain “from farm to fork”.

For the first time, FoodExpert-ID provides the answers to “open-ended questions” concerning the real composition of food products. It is now possible, for example, not only to confirm that beef raviolis contain beef, but that they contain only beef, or to determine whether cod fillet fish fingers really contain only cod and not any other fish species. In the case of livestock production, FoodExpert-ID can be used to verify that feed intended for ruminants contains no animal products, in compliance with European legislation. This new test will therefore contribute to animal feed safety, and will help all food chain partners, from farmers to food manufacturers and retailers, to comply with increasingly stringent food and feed regulations.

FoodExpert-ID has been validated on over 500 food and feed products and government trials are planned to be initiated in the UK, the Netherlands and France before the end of the year.

About Affymetrix®
Affymetrix is a pioneer in creating breakthrough tools that are driving the genomic revolution. By applying the principles of semiconductor technology to the life sciences, Affymetrix develops and commercializes systems that enable scientists to improve the quality of life. The Company's customers include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, agrichemical, diagnostics and consumer products companies as well as academic, government and other non-profit research institutes. Affymetrix offers an expanding portfolio of integrated products and services, including its integrated GeneChip® platform, to address growing markets focused on understanding the relationship between genes and human health.
Additional information on Affymetrix can be found at http://www.affymetrix.com/.

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