Author: Martha Walter
Section: Best practice
Fast and cost efficient testing systems
Quick and easy analysis methods can help food producers with just-on-time delivery and supply. Several examples for the quick detection of allergens, vitamins, pathogens and pesticides or to measure the oxidation stability are listed.
Food producers often need to check the composition of their raw materials or products and guarantee the quality, safety or purity. These quick and on-site self-monitoring tests could be a solution. No need for any additional equipment and chemicals and no need for complex logistics.
AgraStrip® is a lateral flow strip test for detection of vast majority of allergens, designed for application in the production facility. Real time testing, using on-site lateral flow methods allows for quick testing and immediate decision making. This is especially beneficial when a fast turnaround or trouble shooting is necessary. The sample extraction and test procedure have been significantly simplified as compared to other methods. The kits require few skills and only a minimal amount of training. Everything you need for the test is supplied within the test kit and can be stored at ambient temperatures. This allows for the immediate use of the test.
The rapid test strips detect almonds, Brazil nuts, ß-Lactoglobulin, casein, cashew/pistachio, coconut, hazelnut, lupin, macadamia nut, mustard, peanut, sesame, soy, total milk, walnut and whole egg. These allergens are detected in solid products such as raw materials, in-process materials or finished products and also in liquid samples such as liquid products or rinse water.
The kits contain extraction buffers as well as reaction vials and strips. Swabs for environmental analyses are also included. The homogenised sample is added to the extraction vials and then shaken at room temperature for 1 minute, followed by the detection on the strip. In 11 minutes the test is ready and shows the result. The detection limits are nearly 1-2 mg/kg food (1-2 ppm) and not higher than 5 ppm. Click here for more information.
Vitamins and micronutrients
iCheck™ is a reliable and rapid test for on the spot detection of vitamin A, carotene, iron, zinc and iodine. It enables food producers to test the quality and quantity of the nutrients in raw materials and enriched end-products. Developed on the basis of 30 years of research, this test provides qualified, instant and highly precise results. Personnel can fully operate the test kit after a 1-day training. It consists of a measuring device and ready-to-use reagent vials. First the sample is injected into the ready-to-use reagent vial. Then a reaction takes place, after which the quality and quantity of the nutrients is measured. Click here for more information.
The foodproof® detection kits can detect the presence of 21 different strains of pathogens, for example Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Campylobacter or Staphylococcus aureus. The kits are an important support to ensure the microbiological safety of perishable foods. A separate test is needed for most pathogens, but for some a combined proof can be made: for example Enterobacteriaceae plus Cronobacter or E. coli and Shigella. The test results are available in only a few hours through simple implementation and user-friendly handling. Click here for more information.
The method uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Every organism has DNA in all of their cells that is specific to the species. With PCR, this specific piece of DNA is multiplied millions of times when present. This makes it possible to detect even the smallest amounts and is the reason why PCR is very precise.
Quick test oxidation stability
RapidOxy is suitable for oxidation stability determination of vegetable oil, animal fat, e.g. margarine, butter, edible oils and food, such as mayonnaise, sauce, cream, cheese, biscuits. Oxidation of fats and oils is undesired: oxidized fats taste and smell rancid and sometimes toxic substances are formed. Oxidation stability characterizes the resistance of the sample against oxygen. Testing on oxidation stability is necessary for shelf-life investigations and quality control of incoming goods. This patented test accelerates the oxidation process with increased temperature and oxygen pressure.
It is a rapid test method without preliminary sample preparation. After placing the sample in the test cell and sealing it, the test chamber is charged with oxygen and heated. Oxygen consumption will be marked by a pressure decrease. The measurement is continued until the ‘breakpoint’: a defined pressure drop. The elapsed time between the start of the test and the breakpoint indicates the oxidation stability of the tested sample. Click here for more information.
Network between companies can help to develop those tests that are needed in practice.
Pesticide rapid test
Soon, food producers can check their ingredients and foods for 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. Click here to read the full article about this product.
The Food Industry Cluster, Brandenburg Economic Development Board (ZAB), Potsdam University, Potsdam Transfer, ILU e.V. and TRADEIT organized an event in Germany for small and medium-sized enterprises. Innovative quick-tests for food producers were presented. At the end, participating food producers explained their needs and problems to the analytics branch to facilitate the development of new specific solutions
On the one hand, some of the food producers mentioned the amount of the costs in relation to the self-monitoring. On the other hand, especially in the case of allergen labelling, the participants pointed out, that on-site quick tests are gaining in importance. Also for the delivery of very fresh milk, a quick test to detect inhibitors in milk is needed to save time. Inhibitors can be antibiotics and in case of positive results, entire milk tankers can be excluded from the delivery. However, an unspecific quick test to detect the whole range of antibiotics is not yet on the market.
The representatives of the Food Industry Cluster proposed to promote strategic partnerships within the TRADEIT network between companies who need the same analysis systems for their products. The German TRADEIT hub decided to build on this approach in further events. Fill out the get in touch section below if you want to know more about the tests or get involved in a network. Or click the links in the article to get directed to the websites of the test producers.