Pathogen detection gets ever faster

Published: 10-Jul-2014

Rapid methods for pathogen testing are the focus of increasing effort by the food industry, food regulators and technology providers. Susan Birks looks at recent testing developments

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Food safety is a concern worldwide and food regulations are getting ever stricter, which means food testing is a growing business. The global food safety testing market is projected to grow from US$9.262bn in 2012 to $14.030bn by 2018, according to the latest report published by Marketsandmarkets. Research data on food microbiology diagnostics trends and practices over the past 15 years, compiled by Strategic Consulting Inc (SCI) through 450 interviews conducted in 19 countries, found that not only is food microbiology testing growing but that the sampling practices and technologies used also vary in the different geographical regions.

The two main types of testing can be split into routine microbiology, which tests for indicators of contamination in food plants and finished products, and pathogen testing, which looks for specific pathogenic organisms known to cause foodborne illness.

In its research, SCI found that test volumes were similar in North America (NA), Europe (EU) and Asia, with routine microbiology accounting for the major volume – 76% of test volume in NA, 81% in the EU and 72% in Asia. But there were major differences in the microbiological methods used for analysis of food safety tests.

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