Monday, March 1, 2010


Food safety dangers emanating from pathogenic microorganisms are becoming more and more serious in spite of tremendous advances made by the processing industry and the QC instrument manufacturers. Microbes of different types pose different dangers with varying consequences and their detection in processed foods before releasing into the market is vital for the survival of the industry as well as to avoid health risks to the consumer. Classical testing methods are laborious and time consuming though they are simple to perform. Many quick testing instruments have come into the market to cut down the time between testing and launching. The latest to arrive on the scene is the FoodScan series from Israel, claiming to do the job almost instantly.

"Based on an array of High Frequency Quartz Crystal Microbalance (HGQ-CM) sensors and coatings, the technology from MS Tech provides high sensitivity and selectivity in detecting target molecules and can tell you whether or not your food is contaminated in three seconds flat. Weighing in at just 800 grams and the size of about two iphones, FoodScan 3000 is integrated with HF-QCM sensors that are embedded with smart detection algorithms. The surface of each sensor has a chemical coating that is sensitive to different families of target molecules".

Probably the food industry in India can benefit much from such a device as the facilities for microbiological testing are far and few. The traditional plating and culturing techniques take enormous time and reliability is not 100%. If the cost of procuring such instruments is high, MFPI of GOI must step in to help the industry with financial incentives to procure them. At least safety assessment laboratories under the Ministry of Health should have these instruments to block release of tainted products into the market with minimum loss of time


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