A rapid multi-pathogen detector that can be used by non-technical staff in the pork industry will be created by a team behind an EU project.
It will consist of an analyser that features new technologies, including an optical scanner.
The device will build upon immuno-chromatography, fluorescence labelling and optical scanner technologies, with specific monoclonal antibodies, which will reach detection limit in the range of 10-100cfu/ml.
The final product, a rapid pre-screening device for identifying Salmonella, Yersina, Listeria and Campylobacter in pork meat, will be manufactured and distributed by the projects SMEs to businesses throughout the pork supply chain.
With expected market price of €500 per device and 3/test, the consortium estimated sales of €10M after five years in the market.
Six minute detection
This will allow for the rapid and accurate detection of pathogens, within six minutes. Currently, taking samples and sending them to a laboratory for analysis, and then waiting for results, can last more than a day (up to seven days if classical microbiology is applied).
SMEs - which account for 94% of businesses in the European meat industry - often simply cannot afford to carry out expensive checks, said the project brief.
“This is bad for European business, as it means that their animals are more susceptible to disease, and leaves them unable to compete with larger enterprises in the global and even European market place. As a result, SMEs in the pork industry are losing competitive advantage.”
The goal is to boost the meat supply chain to assess their hygiene standards and to be alert to the possible presence of pathogens.
Immediate action can then be taken, significantly reducing the risk of cross contamination and the possibility of a product recall.
PASSPORK is focused on pork because at 51%, pork is the most produced and consumed meat in Europe, and the most exported.
Pork responsible for outbreaks
Pork is also responsible for a higher number of verified food poisoning outbreaks per year comparied to beef due to pathogens including Salmonella, Listeria and Campylobacter.
An EU-wide survey by EFSA found that one in every ten pigs slaughtered in Europe is contaminated with Salmonella.
The two-year initiative started in September 2012 will receive almost €1.3m in EU funding and be co-ordinated by Centre de Recerca, Innovacio de Catalunya S.A.
It brings together applied research centres, universities, food engineering laboratories, and a pork slaughterhouse and processing plant.