A novel method to identify animal species in complex or adulterated processed meat products has been developed by Chinese researchers, which combines a cytochrome oxidase I (COI) mini-barcode with next-generation sequencing (NGS). A universal primer based on 140 sequences from 51 edible animal species was designed. A mixture of 12 species raw meat samples (beef, water buffalo, pork, sheep, chicken, partridge, grass carp, silver carp, blue scad, tile fish, pomfret, and prawn) were identified both with the clone sequencing and also with the mini-barcode (136 bp) sequence combined NGS method. The NGS method was superior in accuracy, sensitivity, and detection efficiency compared to the clone sequencing method, The edible animal species were identified both in the mixed raw samples and 7 heavily processed food products (different meatballs - beef, pork, fish, and shrimp), 'modified' beefsteak, sausages, and Chinese sausages. Moreover, some unlabelled species and dubious contamination were also detected as well, leading to stringent cleaning procedures.
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