National Reference Laboratory for Foodborne Viruses

Viruses that can be transmitted via food are increasingly becoming the focus of public and scientific interest. Although viruses cannot multiply on food, they are very stable on it, and ingestion of even the smallest amounts can cause illness.

Noroviruses (triggering violent vomiting and diarrhea), and hepatitis A viruses get onto food almost exclusively through contamination with human excreta, although this can be prevented with the help of appropriate hygienic measures. Foodstuffs that come into contact with contaminated water during production and are not subjected to a heating step before consumption pose a high risk to the consumer. In contrast, hepatitis E virus can be present in food-producing animals without causing illness and can be transmitted to humans via food produced from them.

Our services

As part of its tasks, the NRL for Foodborne Viruses carries out investigations for the detection and characterization of viruses in food. For this purpose, mainly sensitive and specific molecular biological methods are used. Due to the often low virus concentration and the presence of inhibitors in various foods, which can hinder virus nucleic acid detection by PCR analysis, elaborate sample processing adapted to the specific sample matrix is often necessary.

In exchange with the EURL, the analytics are kept up to date.


Johann Ladstätter

Last updated: 10.10.2023

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