Sujeevan Ratnasingham displays a LifeScanner kit
LifeScanner developer Sujeevan Ratnasingham

Prof. Steven Newmaster, from the Department of Integrative Biology, and Sujeevan Ratnasingham, associate director of informatics at U of G’s Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, were both featured in a Wired article about what’s changed in food fraud detection since the “Horsegate” food scandal.

The 2012 Horsegate scandal uncovered horse meat in hundreds of frozen ground beef products in Europe. Since then, DNA barcoding technology developed at U of G has revolutionized food fraud detection, Newmaster said, calling it “disruptive technology testing.”

Prof. Steve Newmaster

Among the technologies highlighted was the Lifescanner DNA identification kit developed by Ratnasingham, which can be used to detect mislabelled food to identifying strange insects or plants.

Ratnasingham noted that the Lifescanner tool is simple enough for even  elementary schoolchildren to use and can allow anyone to use it to test the purity of their food.

Earlier this year, a panel of judges chose the LifeScanner kit as the winner of the U of G Gryphon’s LAAIR (Leading to the Accelerated Adoption of Innovative Research) innovation pitch competition.