The FDA’s growing focus on preventing foodborne illness rather than just responding after an outbreak has occurred is prompting big demand and growth in the diagnostic testing market. Diagnostic testing kits are an essential part of this growing market as large food producers look for methods to monitor food pathogens while keeping their testing costs under control.
As part of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), the FDA will hold food companies accountable for preventing contamination, with the requirement for comprehensive, science-based preventive controls across the food supply. Food facilities must implement a written preventive controls plan that includes a monitoring program to minimize or prevent hazards that can affect food safety.
According to Tim Lawruk of Romer Labs in Newark, Del., his company has experienced increased interest in food pathogen tests in anticipation of FSMA implementation. “This is particularly true as producers shift their emphasis to environmental monitoring for pathogens, as opposed to finished products testing, as a preventative measure to detect pathogen issues in their facilities,” he says.
Additionally, smaller food producers are investing in food allergen test kits as they try to make their facilities HACCP compliant, Lawruk says.
Food producers can be expected to seek innovative products that improve the efficiency of testing for food pathogens, Lawruk explains. Many pathogens, such as Listeria, are very slow growers so this requires innovative enrichment media and sensitive detection methods. “The next big improvement in pathogen testing will be test results in a single work shift so that decisions can be made the same day, with less product held in storage, and associated costs reduced.”
Holliman is a veteran journalist with extensive experience covering a variety of industries. Reach her at [email protected].
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