Author: János Petrusán
Fast pesticide scan
Soon food producers can check their ingredients and foods on contamination with pesticide residues in less than 5 minutes. The new, accurate, selective and sensitive device is cheaper and faster than conventional lab tests and is also suitable for on-site testing.
Quick and easy analysis methods can save money and help food companies to protect food safety. Pesticides are harmful in higher dosages for humans and regular controls are needed. Conventional options for pesticide residue detection in food and feed take more than a week, and also require transport of the food samples to an external lab for complicated analysis. In contrast, the Foodscan device allows quick onsite testing for pesticide residues at the point of sampling, in factories, at ports or at border control check points. This allows for fast decision-making on whether to accept or reject a food, feed, or drink product.
Raw material suppliers, food producers and end-product supplier are all responsible to supply foods with pesticide levels below legal limits. The device is useful for food producers, especially bakers or millers, wholesalers and retailers who deal with grains, fruits, nuts, cork or their products, such as baked goods and wine. Also analytical labs could benefit. Actions to reject contaminated products, can be taken much quicker when farmers, food companies and distributors have the flexibility to test for a range of samples regularly and in a cost-effective way.
The easy sample preparation and the test itself have advantages compared to established methods. The system is quick, cost-efficient and offers the ability to monitor pesticide residues in real-time. Accuracy, selectivity and sensitivity of the device are similar to established tests, allowing for detection of concentrations as low as 1 part per trillion (ppt). Costs per test are approximately €20, and an initial spend of around €1000 for the device itself, which is 8-10 times cheaper than other tests.
Easy to use
Foodscan is a new device that has just emerged after intensive research, making it user-friendly. The device will be available in a portable suitcase, including additional materials for sample preparation. The sample preparation needs only mixing with solvent and filtering. The filtered liquid will be then analysed within 3 to 5 minutes by Foodscan for presence or absence of pesticides. Foodscan is an ‘early-allert’ method and not yet validated. Therefore, companies should order a full laboratory analysis with validated conventional methods when pesticides are found with Foodscan.
The portable device is a little box containing little Petri dishes, test cultures, bottles, sensors and leading edge electronic and software components. The system is primarily based on the Bioelectric Recognition Assay (BERA) technology. It detects several groups of harmful chemicals in food and beverages, such as organophosphate, carbamate and pyrethroid. If foods are contaminated, the test cultures will develop antibodies as a reaction. Next, the biosensor in the test-box analyses the type and number of these antibodies. Electronics translate this information into easy-to-read test results which tell you the type and quantity of the pesticides that are present.
Want to use it?
Updated information can be found via www.foodscan.net. The developers from LGV GmbH will roll out the device to market late 2016, once the technology is ready for manufacture and has passed all certification procedures. IGV GmbH is interested in finding partners to extend the detection possibilities of Foodscan to wider spectrum of pesticides and mycotoxins. In addition, IGV GmbH wants to attract collaborators for final validation and certification for wide acceptance of the current device by the food industry. IGV GmbH is a research institute who develops innovative products, facilities and processes for food and feed production. Get in touch at the end of this article or visit www.igv-gmbh.de.