Sample6 predicts Salmonella assay backing

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Sample6 reveal plans for this year
Sample6 reveal plans for this year
Sample6 expects to have an assay for Salmonella validated by the AOAC by the middle of the year.

The firm told FoodQualityNews it is working on a Salmonella assay for environmental and food matrixes and current Listeria environmental customers are requesting an assay to detect Listeria for food. 

Sample6’s bioillumination technology and analytics platform reduces testing time to a single shift – catching potential product issues before they leave the plant and enter the consumer food chain.

More than 50 sites across 40 companies, including ConAgra and OSI Group, completed pilots during the initial beta process.

Progress so far

Tim Curran, Sample6 CEO, told us how it had gone from the pilot process and beta testing to AOAC approval which allowed a big push into the market.

“There is a validation process with each food company. We went into 40 or 50 food plants to run samples and we had to duplicate samples, it was like a comparison with what they were using,” ​he said.

“Smaller food companies are more nimble and have a smaller decision making process and team so it could take about 60 days. With larger food companies with 50-100 plants it is a more complex decision.

“Going from one method to another takes longer and we have learned that food companies do not take this subject lightly, it is a serious decision if they are going to switch methods and that is good to see.”

How it works and users

Sample6 DETECT (the bioillumination technology) and Sample6 CONTROL (the analytics) for Listeria were launched last year.

Early success stories include: Dietz & Watson​, New England Charcuterie, RLS Logistics, as well as a Fortune 100 ice cream company.

Surfaces are swabbed with a sponge, the Sample6 buffer solution is added, it is incubated and then centrifuged before being put in the detection system and lighting up if Listeria is present.

It does this through biosensors that are designed to target the pathogen and make the sample light up if bacteria are there.

Curran said it has learned where the value is for food companies in its system.

“They said to us they can’t do much with a result three days after as they don’t know where the contamination is now. With our system you can run samples in your own lab on site, it offers convenience and reduced cost as you don’t have to ship out samples to third party labs,” ​he said. 

“PCR is the most popular but immuno-assay methods are still used such as lateral flow assays and even culture methods are still going on.”

Sample6 also moved to a much larger office in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2014 and plans to increase employee headcount throughout the year.

Curran said the plan is to add 10 employees, in sales, customer service and R&D, from current staff of 25.

“The big problem with current technology is the first step of enrichment, it is high volume and needs to be incubated by putting it in an oven, it takes up a lot of lab space plus you are growing the deadly pathogen,” ​he said.

“There is always the chance of contamination as you are growing Listeria cells and we eliminate the need for this step.”

Sample6 finished 2014 with nine food companies in active production and Curran said the target for the end of the year was to have 50-60 customers.

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