Different test methodologies have a variety of advantages, disadvantages, and limitations. The primary factors that determine the overall desirability of a test methodology are the speed of obtaining results, the accuracy of results, the breadth or robustness of the test, and the associated costs of the tests.
When producers are quickly assured of the safety of their products, they can put them into the market immediately, thus obtaining maximum product shelf life and bringing in maximum revenue. When product batches test positive for an unwanted pathogen, a quick test result allows the company to withhold product from distribution, effectively preventing exposure to the public and the need for costly recalls.
In addition, rapid identification allows firms to take immediate action to limit exposures and/or problems associated with microbiological contaminations. The source of the problem can be found quickly and action can be taken to eliminate further contamination from that source. Better public relations are maintained, legal and financial liabilities are minimized, and the company’s long-term reputation is enhanced.
Food growers, manufacturers, and food service providers must meet these new requirements from FSMA. Finding the best techniques for identifying contaminated food products and sources of contamination is vital to all companies in this competitive and highly regulated industry.
Dr. McCright is the executive vice president and project manager at Biotrack Diagnostics Inc., working with Biotrack’s rapid microbial testing technology. Reach him at email@example.com.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author wishes to acknowledge with appreciation the considerable support received from Carter Banks, Biotrack’s director of public relations, and Robert Moore, Biotrack’s director of advertising, in the development of this editorial.