Big Data – Applying Genomics and Metagenomics to Food Safety
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*Hugh Rand, FDA 

Keywords: genomics, metagenomics, food safety

Technological innovation in sequencing is making the application of sequencing to every biological sample of relevance to food safety a reality. Sequencing will be applied as a matter of course and will likely supplant many of the traditional biological assays used on food safety samples. The management of this (big) data is a formidable challenge. In addition, the expectations of what can be done with the data has grown. The Food Safety Modernization Act is pushing toward a predictive approach to biological contamination of the food supply. Thus, our (big) analytical capabilities are being forced to grow as well. We discuss some of the work going on at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in order to manage and analyze these large datasets. This work allows us to generate the research results necessary to sufficiently understand outbreaks to build predictive models. And, it also allows us to provide timely information to aid in management of food-borne pathogen outbreaks.