The presence in products of pathogens such as dangerous E. coli, can spark off an expensiverecall for a food company, which would also have to deal with damage to its brand and the subsequentloss of sales.
US-based Zonda said its release of QuikAlert was in response to growing demand for a quicker testfrom industry after the recent widespread Escherichia coli outbreak due to contaminated produce.
QuikAlert was designed as a screening tool that can detect food borne pathogens directly from a food product before it is packaged orshipped, the company said.
" Typically, perishable food products are packaged and shipped before pathogen test results areavailable," the company stated. "QuikAlert can detect these potentially dangerous microorganisms in minutes versus hours ordays."
QuikAlert comes with a swab that is used to sample a food product. After 20 minutes, a reagent is added to the tip of the swab. Aftertwo minutes, a positive test will result in a purple colour on the tip of the swab, indicating a presence of potentially dangerous microorganisms.
"Quick detection of food borne pathogens protects the health of consumers and can potentially save millions of dollars to food growers and food processingcompanies," said Laurie Oleksiewicz, Zonda's president.