By Ruth Eden, BioExpert
Why Rapid Methods?
Rapid methods of pathogen testing have been gaining acceptance in the food industry. Recent advances in technology result in faster detection and identification of pathogens, more convenient, more sensitive, more reproducible, and more specific than conventional methods. The main reasons for their adaptation are because faster results mean:
- Faster intervention and corrective actions
- Fewer lost lots or reduced amount of product in a contamination event
- Faster reaction to a problem
- Improved throughput and reduced warehouse space
- Decreased manufacturing cycle through faster release of inventory
- Ability to link strains of pathogens to a specific case
- Accelerates root cause analysis
- Rapid pathogen testing can be useful in preventing an outbreak of illness
For ready-to-eat products, the new FSMA proposal requires environmental pathogens to be controlled. As a result, environmental pathogen testing is required in some segments of the industry. In most cases, the cost of assay materials increases with new methods. However, the operational and financial benefits far outweigh the expense.