Guyana boost capacity building through hands-on-training on Testing Foodborne Pathogens and their resistant variants

9 Nov 2023
Laboratory staff
9 Nov 2023

Georgetown, Guyana 9 November 2023- Within the next five years, the Ministry of Health, Government Analyst, Food and Drugs Department will be well equipped to identify antimicrobials in food-producing animals, which plays a crucial role in selecting and spreading resistant bacteria. It is estimated that one in five human infections with resistant bacteria originate from animals or animal products. One question you should ask yourself is, Are processed foods harmful to your bodies?

At some point, we all wondered if the information on the back of the bottle or package was correct.

Dr. Anders Kjærulff Svaneborg, Laboratory Consultant for metals and inorganic Chemistry

The aim of the training is to develop sample preparation techniques using microwave digestion for the quantification by AAS (Atomic Absorption Spectrometry) of trace elements in different food matrices, in addition to implementing good laboratory practices, quality assurance, and correct maintenance of AAS equipment applying the ISO/IEC 17025: 2017 standard to generate reliable results.

The training commenced on 6 November and will end on 17 November 2023 at the Institute of Applied Science and Technology located at the University of Guyana. 

The Ministry of Health, Government Analyst, Food and Drug Department, with the support of PAHO/WHO, seeks to implement methods for the determination of trace elements such as Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn), macro elements such as Calcium (Ca) and Sodium (Na), and environmental contaminants such as Lead (Pb), Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd) and Mercury (Hg) in food matrices using AAS (Atomic Absorption Spectrometry) equipment.




Dr.  Anders Kjærulff Svaneborg, Laboratory Consultant for Metals and Inorganic Chemistry, stated that he expects the participants, at the end of the two weeks of training, to be able to set, maintain, optimize, and calibrate the microwave digestion and AAS equipment and to analyze the food matrices of interest for the content of macro and trace elements. By these means, the Laboratory will be able to report results to customers and authorities to confirm or not confirm the content of these elements claimed on the products. Furthermore, the participants have received training in Quality Assurance, such as Internal and External Quality Control, Method validation, and Uncertainty estimation. The Laboratory facility is now equipped with the documentation processes used when applying for accreditation for analytical methods, according to the demands in the ISO/IEC 17025: 2017 standard. 




PAHO/WHO will continue to support the Ministry of Health to strengthen laboratory capacities as the techniques evolve to generate new knowledge in testing foodborne pathogens and variants.