Merck Millipore’s business unit Biomonitoring is focussed on pathogen and indicator organism testing with special focus on its granulated cultural media which meets the industry performance standards described in ISO 11133.
Granulation compacts fine particles into small, uniform granules which reduces media dust generation, dispersion and inhalation avoiding human health risks.
“Our customers demand easier, faster, cost efficient solutions with an overall aim of food safety. Pathogenic tests have increased because the population is growing so there are more tests being performed,” explained Dr Sabine Müller, head of product management, dehydrated culture media and rapid testing applications at the firm.
“There is more and more regulation in the market such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), so food testing and environmental monitoring is becoming a critical focus,”she told FoodQualityNews.com.
Dr Müller said customers include quality control and quality analysis professionals and food manufacturing labs looking to test organisms in different food matrixes.
“Beverages used to be tested just for spoilage organisms like yeast and moulds but a new trend we are seeing is beverage drinks are mixed with, e.g. milk or teas. These milk and juices need to be tested for pathogen organisms now, as the old products were only tested for spoilage.
“It is recent, in the last couple of years, but these drinks leads to a new ingredient to look at.”
She said the firm is working on faster media for pathogens such as E.coli which is currently 18-20 hours for enrichment, but the firm’s Rapidcult reduces that to eight hours driven by the demand of customers.
It offers a flexible enrichment between eight and 12 hours, but allows incubation of up to 22 hours, depending on customers workflows.
The Rapidcult E. coli Broth is a medium for enrichment of all pathogenic E. coli (STEC/EHEC) including the O157 strain from all food samples, especially ground beef and beef trim.
Autoclave not needed
The firm’s soon released Readybag products remove the need for autoclaving making workflows easier and quicker as there are less steps and it is less prone to errors.
It comes with the granulated media in an aluminium pouch and is already sterilised by gamma irradiation, laboratories only need to add the sample, sterilised water and mix it together.
She also cited the firm’s Singlepath Direct Lateral Flow solution for on-site campylobacter testing in poultry as an example of them taking action before regulations are in place.
“They can prevent it on the farm and monitor the class on the farm in flocks so they know what’s entering the food chain.
“EU legislation is now looking into preventive activities but we want to be at the forefront and develop preventive products in addition to just detection supporting these. The technology is not always there but that’s what we are trying to do, help customers with methodologies towards prevention.
“There is a trend from farm to fork as testing the final product is good but we need to make sure nothing enters the food chain.”
At the recent IAFP show, the firm showed its Singlepath lateral flow test kits which it claims decreases the time to result, delivers definite results in twenty minutes after sample enrichment and detects the major pathogens.