Rapid Smart Testing Via Big Data
Tuesday, December 10th, 2019
The need of the food industry is very clear—a method reliable enough to get fast indication in real time in order to make decisions on the spot and minimise the chance of contamination.
Current Gaps In Food Safety
According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1 in 10 people will become sick from eating contaminated food, resulting in more than 300 million healthy lives lost each year. This statistic is a direct result of the food industry’s inability to conduct daily frequent testing for contamination, given current solutions that are at its disposal.
The majority of food safety tests today are conducted in lab settings using lab equipment, operated by skilled chemists and technicians. These devices, like HPLC or LCMS, are complex to operate and require significant capital to establish an on-going food safety regiment work procedures. Despite the high cost and days in providing results, these devices are very reliable and what the regulation is considered to be the standard.
Other methods available in the food safety market are known as “sticks” in the common tongue, or lateral flow in the professional. The advantage of these tests is their low cost, however they are not considered to be reliable enough and still require manual sample preparation, often resulting in human error.
The need of the food industry is very clear—a method reliable enough to get fast indication in real time in order to make decisions on the spot and minimise the chance of contamination. To compare, a device like the breathalyser that enables the police to take drunk drivers off the road to ensure the safety of the driver, as well as other drivers. As can be seen, current solutions don’t meet that requirement.
Challenges: Food Contamination Detection
The main challenge of the food industry is to significantly reduce the chance of food contamination across the supply-chain, and doing so at an affordable cost. The solution must adhere to the following criteria:
- Reliable—Here, there are two requirements when checking for food contaminants:
- The solution must be able to detect residues at a Parts Per Billion (PPB) level of concentration. That is because the Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) set by the regulator is at a PPB level. To understand the challenge, imagine a toilet paper roll spread from New York to London and you need to identify a single specific square.
- The output needs to be as close as possible to that of traditional method of detection. In other words there can’t be a significant deviation between the solutions result to that of lab equipment.
- Speed—A test has to provide the result in the same day so a decision can be made if to stop or continue with the routine operation.
- Cost—In order to conduct multiple tests, the solution has to be cost effective.
- Portable—In order to conduct tests across the supply-chain, the solution must be portable. Also, it can’t have the perquisitions of a lab setting, especially in terms of safety.
- User-friendly—The solution can’t be used by skilled chemists and technicians, therefore the operation must be simple and automated, and the results must be displayed in a user friendly interface (as opposed to the way it is currently displayed when using HPLC/LCMS).
- Secure—The results of the tests are needless to say of high importance and sensitive to the customer. Therefore the solution must offer increased security of the data.
Inspecto Reduces Food Contamination With Real-Time Results
FoodTech startup Inspecto Ltd., Israel, introduces a new device that detects chemical contamination in food in real-time. The portable scanner can detect contaminants at concentration levels as required by regulators, guaranteeing traceability and complete transparency.
Inspecto’s innovative device brings lab testing to the farmers, food manufactures, and retailers without time-consuming, high-cost lab testing. The Inspecto solution is fast, accurate, affordable, and saves unnecessary costs. This high-tech solution offers the food industry the ability to tailor contaminant testing to their needs and location.
“Our solution helps make food safer and cleaner, and ensures maximum transparency,” says Avner Avidan, CEO of Inspecto. “We already are engaged in pilot projects with leading food companies wanting to take product safety assurance and traceability to the next level.”
“We developed a portable device to ensure the safety of the product ‘from farm-to-fork’ and help food manufacturers control their entire supply chains,” says Yair Moneta, VP of Business Development for Inspecto. “It can disrupt the entire way contaminants are currently being tested, reducing the risk of recalls, food waste, and potential lawsuits.”
How Inspecto Can Help to Solve These Issues
Inspecto’s device was designed to address all the necessary requirements to minimise the gap between the industry’s need and current solutions. In that respect, below is information on our product for detecting Acrylamide in food.
A Quick Overview On Inspecto’s Device
Inspecto has developed the capability to detect residues at PPB levels of detection and in no more than 15 percent deviation. Below is an example for our application for Acrylamide detection using 3 samples of 250 PPB, 450 PPB and 750 PPB.
Inspecto’s current detection time is approximately 30 minutes.
Current lab tests for Acrylamide range from USD$300 to USD$400 per sample. Inspecto’s cost per sample stands at USD$89.
Inspecto’s device is portable and can be used in factory, warehouse, supermarket or any “out of the lab” setting.
Inspecto’s results are displayed in a user-friendly interface after the system has analysed the results and transmitted them to our cloud.
Inspecto uses secure protocols for its data storage and will also integrate Blockchain for enhanced security.
Contributed by Inspecto Ltd.
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