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Seattle Human and Animal Food Laboratory (SEAHAF)

Program Capabilities


The Chemistry Branch of SEAHAF is supported by a broad range of technologies such as gas/liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry.  It routinely performs analyses for pesticide contamination in a wide variety of products; mycotoxin contamination in seeds, grains, nuts, and apple juice; adulteration in submitted dietary supplement samples; as well as analyses for the presence of histamine in scombrotoxin fish, domoic acid in shellfish, and antibiotics in seafood.  SEAHAF chemists also accompany FDA investigators on international/domestic inspections for food and pharmaceutical products.


The Microbiology Branch of SEAHAF tests for foodborne pathogens, including Salmonella, E. coli, Staphylococcus, Listeria, Vibrio, and Campylobacter bacterial species, applying techniques ranging from primary isolation to whole genome sequence.  In addition, SEAHAF screens food products for the presence of viral pathogens (Norovirus and He Hepatitis A) and parasites such as Cyclospora.  The experienced SEAHAF microbiologists contribute to method development, participate in the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) and Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network (CORE) responses to food-associated disease outbreaks.  SEAHAF is home to scientists who examine seafood (and food) by sensory evaluation to determine levels of decomposition as well as entomologists who extract filth from FDA regulated foods (insect, rodent, bird, and other extraneous filth); perform fish speciation by DNA barcoding; and determine the presence of prohibited-matter in animal feed, using microscopy and PCR.  Furthermore, SEAHAF microbiologists regularly participate in international/domestic inspections involving sterility evaluation of manufactured pharmaceuticals produced in foreign facilities but destined for the U.S. market.


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