Contamination of food and feed for food producing and companion animals can harm animals directly, but also indirectly harm consumers of chemically contaminated animal food products. In some instances pet and food producing animals can act as sentinels, warning of future human intoxications. For example, in the melamine food outbreak of 2007, detection of melanine in pet food preceded detection of the same in infant formula which sickened and killed children in China. Therefore, early and rapid detection of toxins in animal food/feed can protect public health. The melamine food outbreak of 2007 revealed many deficiencies in veterinary diagnostic laboratory capacity to rapidly detect and quantify food contamination during emergency outbreaks. This led to the founding, 7-8 years ago, of Vet-LIRN, a network of Federal, State, and University Laboratories whose function is to catalyze the development of new and rapid tissue-based analytical techniques, provide for well-equipped and well-staffed facilities, improve the effectiveness of partnerships to coordinate food safety and defense resources to reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses, and to increase communication among network labs. The Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (ISU VDL) is a founding member and an avid supporter and participant in network activities. A lot more remains to be done to protect animal and public health. This FOA is supporting multiple projects, including purchase of equipment needed for testing or developing tests for feed/food-borne toxicants. This project proposal has one Specific Aim:
Specific Aim #1 : Purchase of one new Thermo Fisher Scientific TSQ Altis UHPLC/triple quadrupole LC/MS instrument. Compared with conventional existing LC/MS, this TSQ Altis UHPLC will provide separations with equivalent chromatographic resolution up to 5-6 times more rapidly. This high throughput capability can be critically important in an emergency response situation. For example, in the event of a pet-food recall event, this equipment will enable our lab to conduct high throughput sample analysis, turning out test results of multiple test samples 5-6 times faster than our existing Waters LC/MS system currently dedicated for Vet-LIRN activities. If awarded, the new system will also allow our lab to turn out regular diagnostic cases much faster. If awarded this will support surge capacity sample testing during large scale animal food/feed emergency events identified by the VPO. Ultimately, the ISU VDL will maintain full functionality as a Vet-LIRN laboratory, with readiness to contribute to the FDA mission in fulfilment of requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Food-borne contaminants are a threat to animal and public health. High-throughput testing of multiple samples enables early and faster diagnosis of food contaminants, saving animal lives and protecting public health. Purchasing a UHPLC will enable the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab to acquire high throughput capability for detection of food and feed contaminants, thus protecting animal and public health.