EFSA Scientific Colloquium N°20: Whole Genome Sequencing of food-borne pathogens for public health protection

16 June 2014

About 90 leading scientists, representatives of international and European organisations and national food safety authorities gathered in Parma, Italy, to discuss the use of the whole genome sequencing of foodborne pathogens for the protection of public health. EFSA’s 20th Scientific Colloquium on whole genome sequencing (WGS) took place on 16-17 June.

The meeting offered a unique opportunity for internationally renowned experts in the field to engage in discussions on cutting-edge science that is promising for public health,” said Ernesto Liebana, (acting) Head of EFSA’s Biological Hazards and Contaminants Unit.

Delegates discussed the methods available, strategies for analysis and interpretation of data, and challenges related to the management and curation of databases, the integration of WGS into monitoring, surveillance and outbreak preparedness. Delegates emphasised the need for the food, veterinary and human health sectors to collaborate in this field.

There is still limited experience in the use of WGS methods in applications related to microbial food safety in the EU, but the there is great potential for this technology to provide risk assessors and risk managers with a powerful tool. “It was a timely and well focussed meeting. It provided a clear direction for EFSA, ECDC and national food safety authorities to build a one-health whole genome sequencing strategy to protect human health from foodborne pathogens”, said the Chair of the meeting, Marc Struelens.

Programme and briefing notes

Programme(479.13 KB)

Briefing notes(147.79 KB)