Hygiena acquires mycotoxin specialist


Acquisition of Helica expands immunoassay-based testing at Hygiena to include mycotoxins in dairy, cereals, and other foods

Hygiena has acquired California-based Helica BioSystems. The specialist in rapid food safety and environmental diagnostic tests has bought Helica to expand portfolio to enzyme-linked immunoassays (ELISA) that can detect mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins are a family of highly toxic chemicals that are naturally emitted by specific fungi which are a persistent problem in dairy, grain, feed, food and beverages products. Maximum acceptable levels are very low (in the ppb range) due to their extreme toxicity, and the toxins can cause a variety of health problems such as liver cancer, kidney complications, stunting in children, and many other conditions.

Helica supplies a full menu of mycotoxin detection tests as well as research test kits for testing inflammatory markers such as C-Reactive Protein for the pharmaceutical industry.

In addition, the company offers contract research and private label manufacturing services. One of Helica’s best-selling tests is for aflatoxin M1, a type of mycotoxin that persists in milk and other dairy products.

After the acquisition of DuPont’s global food and safety diagnostics division in 2017, Hygiena expanded its portfolio to include a range of products for its global food and beverage customers. With the addition of these tests, Hygiena expands its range of food safety and quality assurance products further to its global customer base.

Helica’s products complement Hygiena’s allergen detection (which include other ELISA- and lateral flow-based tests), ATP and pathogen detection product portfolios and provide the best value in science-based solutions to help meet the diverse needs of food and beverage companies.

Steven Nason, CEO of Hygiena, said: “Helica’s products are known for their versatility and quality, and we are prepared to build on the company’s existing presence in developed and emerging markets.”

Helica’s operations will remain in Santa Ana, and all Helica employees will become employees of Hygiena. Helica’s products will be available through Hygiena’s global commercial sales team as well as the global network of distributor partners. Hygiena also will continue Helica’s research initiatives aimed at developing new assays for food safety.

Wondu Wolde-Mariam, CEO of Helica, said: “Helica has come a long way, starting in a garage to now becoming part of the world’s leading provider of food safety products. Our R&D and production facilities are certified to the ISO 13485:2016 standard, and our quality is second to none.”


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Hygiena has also announced that its GlutenTox Pro test for detecting gluten has received a renewal and transfer of its certification to Hygiena from the AOAC Research Institute. The renewal under the AOAC Performance Tested Methods Program certifies that GlutenTox Pro performs according to Hygiena’s specifications.