The Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC) Presents Innovative Whole Genome Sequencing Research at Global Food Safety Event


Georgina Cuckston

Science Communications Manager


The Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC) team proudly presented original research in advancing microbial research and technology at this week’s International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Virtual Annual Meeting 2020. Dr. Chongtao Ge, a senior research manager and lead scientist in microbial risk management, presented the latest findings in Mars GFSC research on the topic of ‘Evaluation of real-time nanopore sequencing for Salmonella serotype prediction’.

The study evaluated the performance of Salmonella serotype prediction using nanopore sequencing, and successfully proved its potential as a faster, molecular-based approach to conventional methods. In his presentation at IAFP 2020, Dr Chongtao Ge provided an overview of the optimized procedure for field application of Salmonella serotyping and contamination source tracking. The presentation was well-received with Dr Ge receiving multiple questions and expressions of interest in his findings.

Chongtao says of the conference: “I’m proud to contribute to these proceedings. They are an excellent opportunity to share the expertise of the Mars GFSC to help tackle current food safety challenges. I believe that byworking together we can progress food safety research to the point where we can collectively ensure everyone has access to safe food.”

IAFP booth
Leveraging virtual conferences to raise the bar in global food safety

To ensure the safety of all involved IAFP was held virtually this year, and the researchers of the Mars GFSC enjoyed and fully leveraged the new format. Mars associates logged in over the three days to network with thousands of fellow food safety professionals from around the globe.

This year the event was attended by more than 3,000 of the top industry, academic and governmental food safety professionals from six continents. Attendees could not only watch talks from concurrent sessions but also explore a virtual exhibitor hall to connect with corporations and academic institutions, and still have meaningful discussions with peers with similar research interests.

Commitment to fostering knowledge sharing

The Mars GFSC was also proud to be one of three top tier platinum sponsors of this event, as part of our continued commitment to strengthening food safety through knowledge sharing, dialogue, and collaboration. We know there is always work to be done to help advance food safety research, which is why we are committed to continuous investment of time, efforts and resources that can bring us one step closer to a world in which everyone has access to safer foods.

Dr Guangtao Zhang, Interim Head of the GFSC says: “A key piece of advice I have to anybody in food safety is to keep up with the latest information. If it’s not safe, it’s not food. At Mars we believe we have a responsibility to share knowledge openly to raise standards of food safety for the benefit of all.  It’s important for us as it is for all experts around the world to exchange insights and share what we know.  Events such as IAFP are essential to this, enabling discussion, the sharing of ideas and the latest knowledge that’s being generated in the field. After all, if we really want to ensure safe food for all, everyone has a role to play.”