Last week Cannabis Industry Journal, a sister publication of Food Safety Tech, published its interview with AOAC International officials about the organization’s commitment to cannabis lab testing, where it sees this area headed in the future and the launch of its food authenticity and fraud program. AOAC first entered the realm of cannabis testing a few years ago and is making strides to get further involved with “methods regarding chemical contaminants in cannabis, cannabinoids in various foods and consumables, as well as microbial organisms in cannabis,” according to the article. AOAS also recently launched a food authenticity and fraud program to develop standards and methods geared toward economically adulterated foods. Read more about AOAC’s latest development on the food front as well as its push in cannabis lab testing in the article, “Spotlight on AOAC: New Leadership, New Initiatives in Cannabis and Food”.
MediaBox broths and buffers are sterile, easy-to-use and come in a convenient stackable storage box with a long shelf life. Significantly reduce staff workload by removing weighing, measuring, mixing, autoclaving and cleaning glassware. MediaBox is supplied ready-to-use and is far easier to use than dry bags, which are difficult to fill, often leak and are not consistent from one bag to the next.
MediaBox directly connects to the EZ-Flow gravimetric diluter creating an automated system for weighing and diluting your samples. EZ-Flow automatically weighs samples and provides diluent from MediaBox for the correct dilution factor. Your lab will love the convenience and increased efficiency. Microbiology International offers a wide range of dosing systems to pair with your MediaBox of choice.
All MediaBox products pass strict quality control protocols and include Certificate of Analysis documentation. MediaBox sterile liquids come in 5L, 10L and 20L boxes.
Available types include Buffered Peptone Water, Modified UVM, mTSB, Demi-Fraser Broth Base, Phosphate Buffer, Butterfields, Lactose Broth, Sterile Water, LB Broth, PBS, and more. Custom formulations are available.
DuPont Nutrition & Health is joining forces with Eurofins Microbiology Laboratories, Inc. to deliver tailored food protection services with advanced analytical testing services. The agreement, which is initially being launched as a pilot program in the United States, combines DuPont’s expertise in food microbial ecology and its Detect + Protect service program with Eurofins’ capabilities in microbiological testing.
The food protection program will assist manufacturers with the microbial challenges they face in their production facilities while also addressing food spoilage and waste. Introducing antimicrobials can make food products last longer, but it’s important to ensure that the quality of those products is not affected. One of the goals of the partnership is to help food manufacturers reduce spoilage and expand the shelf life of their products without making such a compromise. “Detect + Protect targets clients that are all about comprehensive [food] safety and quality,” says Marc Scantlin, vice president, US Food Division at Eurofins. “Everything has an expiration date. How can we improve the timeline of keeping whole food safe while increasing shelf life?”
According to Nathalie Brosse, global market development, BioProtection at DuPont, the company has needed more space to build its Detect + Protect offering. DuPont will be leveraging Eurofins’ extensive lab capacity to make its program more widely available, while DuPont’s international client base opens the doors for Eurofins to expand its global reach.
From a logistics perspective, the partnership will also expedite sample turnaround, as the companies take advantage of the Eurofins microbiology lab in Louisville, KY. Located in close proximity to the UPS worldwide air hub, Eurofins can receive overnight samples between 2 am and 4:30 am, providing a faster turnaround of samples by nearly six to eight hours.
DuPont and Eurofins anticipate launching the partnership in Europe but are not disclosing dates yet.
FSMA will add more responsibility to a laboratory’s plate, stressing the need to maximize research and develop an integrated approach to prioritizing risks. Under its general requirements, research and regulatory labs will be expected to examine performance standards, cooperate with federal partners within HHS and the Department of Homeland Security, and build a domestic capacity that encompasses federal, state and international partners.
Partnerships between research and regulatory labs should strive to bridge information gaps with the goal of harmonizing standards, integrating lab networks, and expanding surveillance programs. During the Food Labs Conference in March, Palmer A. Orlandi, PhD, CAPT, U.S. Public Health Service Sr. Science Advisor in the Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine at FDA, discussed how partnerships in the era of FSMA are crucial to facilitate innovation. “We’re not necessarily looking for someone to take our responsibilities, but we’re looking for someone to walk with us to do this,” said Orlandi.
For research and regulatory analytical capabilities to move forward, several needs and goals must be addressed:
• Burden sharing
• Expansion of the scope of testing programs (and the methods to support them)
• Development of sampling strategies
• Risk-informed prioritization strategy
• Capacity building
• Methods that are rapid, sensitive, specific, easy to use, robust and portable
• Ability to test at the source
• Database of information that shows susceptibility for contamination and root cause, while also providing solutions for prevention
• Targeted and statistically significant surveillance, with the ability for sharing
Examples of capacity-building partnerships include the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN), which is run by FDA and USDA. FERN is comprised of more than 170 state and federal labs, and has gone beyond its roots in emergency capacity, expanding into a food safety network that also participates in large-scale surveillance. The Integrated Food Safety System incorporates a Lab Task Group with seven subcommittees to develop standards in areas that include accreditation, methods, regulatory requirements, reporting, and sampling. International partnerships are currently being forged in Mexico and Canada.
|View excerpt from Palmer Orlandi’s presentation about Partnerships & Innovation at the Food Labs Conference|
What’s Next: Innovation, Technology and the Possibilities
Portable technology: A user-friendly, handheld rapid-screening instrument that requires minimal sample prep and is cost effective. Think Tricorder. Will it be possible to wave an instrument over a head of lettuce and detect bacterial contamination? What about detecting a spectrum of approved or unapproved pesticides or active pharmaceutical ingredients?
“This is where we would like to go,” said Orlandi. “Is it pie in the sky? Absolutely. But if you don’t ask the big questions, if you only take the incremental steps, you’re only going to get so far.”
Orlandi pointed to X-ray fluorescence, which takes less than two minutes to perform sample analysis and ion mobility spectrometry, which can detect a small range of selected compounds in just 30 seconds, as technologies that have future potential.
FDA has a goal of bringing such innovative technologies to bear through its Broad Agency Announcements, a program that provides funding from $200,000 to $50 million to harness new technologies.
Orlandi also cited the Whole Genome Sequencing (WSGS) Collaborative as the next big technology. The GenomeTrakr is a federal and state network of 24 labs that collect and share genomic data from foodborne pathogens. This enormous data flow provides the ability to sequence and transmit and store data, involving domestic and international partners. One application example includes identifying antimicrobial resistance markers.
As FSMA increases industry requirements, “partnerships are going to spawn our capabilities to harmonize standards that will involve, then leads to mutual reliance,” said Orlandi. “We rely our partners’ data and their processes. This will lead to greater capabilities for surveillance and data sharing. All of these combined will lead to a greater food safety network.”
Related Content: Five Questions with Palmer Orlandi
As the FDA’s Palmer Orlandi explained at Pittcon [on March 9], they might need your help to get that job done. Orlandi, who spoke as part of the two-day Food Safety Tech Food Labs Conference at Pittcon, is the agency’s acting chief science officer in the office of food and veterinary medicine. The FDA traditionally has been very good at reacting to safety issues in our food supply as they arise and finding the source of the problem, Orlandi said. But, now the agency is charged with more of a preventive role, which means identifying the biggest risks before they become a threat to the public. That’s a big job, and the FDA can’t do it alone. “We’re looking for burden-sharing,” Orlandi said.
Partnerships with other federal agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security are part of the solution. They’re also working with state-level laboratories and even the private sector, he said. As an example, he cites the Food Emergency Response Network, which includes food-testing laboratories at the local, state, and federal levels. Initially formed to deal with bioterrorism threats, Orlandi said it has become a useful food safety network as well. FERN-affiliated labs recently tested 1,600 samples of avocados for salmonella and listeria, he said.
Much of the burden of this new preventive approach will fall on food producers. Orlandi said FDA is willing to work with private labs to develop standards. This can be tricky, however, because the agency doesn’t want to create the impression that it is somehow favoring one private sector entity over another. Meanwhile, private companies have their own trade secrets to protect. “Where is the middle ground where we can cooperate?” Orlandi asked rhetorically.
FDA has developed validation standards that field labs can use, he said. But, he concedes, the agency hasn’t done a good job compiling and publishing those standards into an accessible document or reaching out to stakeholders to make sure they’re up to speed. “That’s another thing on our to-do list,” he said.
Funding for these efforts is scarce. Joe Konschnik, a market research manager for Restek Chromatography Products who attended Orlandi’s presentation, helps to supply scientists working in College Park, MD to develop new procedures to analyze pesticides. Traditionally, once the research is published, the researchers’ jobs are over. Konschnik says now they’re trying to send the information out to other labs in the U.S. and overseas. That way, everyone can work from the same page to validate the work and create consistent standards.
One of the problems is that, for example, aerating seeds to run multilevel validation studies can cost $35,000, he said. But the FDA only has about $75,000 to fund such studies, which obviously would run out very quickly. “There’s no money to fund the back-end stuff,” Konschnik said. He said he works with the American Council of Independent Laboratories, which is willing to do the testing for free. But it still costs money for the FDA to make samples, send them to the labs, gather the data, and validate the data.
In short, the partnerships FDA is building remain a work in progress. But it has a new tool: the America Competes Act, which gives federal agencies the authority to award prizes for solving significant problems. The FDA has issued a “food safety challenge,” Orlandi said, looking for ways to reduce turnaround times on food safety tests, checking for salmonella, for example, from a few weeks to a day or two. The agency has a $500,000 prize pool, with $400,000 potentially going to the winner.
This article originally appeared in CEN media group’s Pittcon Today on Tuesday, March 10 and has been republished with permission.
InstantLabs announced today the expansion of its SpeciesID product line by offering DNA-based tests for Atlantic and Coho salmon. InstantLabs SpeciesID™ tests provide accurate DNA verification in under two hours.
The launch of the salmon test kits highlights InstantLabs’ efforts to meet market demand by expanding the affordable, simple-to-use InstantID™ product line. The company already offers kits to identify Atlantic Blue Crab, pork and horse meat. The InstantLabs’ system gives food wholesalers, processors and inspectors a fast and reliable option for product tests.
The two new products were created in partnership with the University of Guelph, an international leader in agricultural and food science. The InstantID test kits for Atlantic (Salmo salar) and Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) are the first of four salmon assays planned for release during 2015. InstantLabs will launch InstantID™ for Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka) salmon later this year.
Expanding its presence in the high-demand seafood market, the Baltimore-based manufacturer of the Hunter® system expects to also release InstantID™ kits for snapper, catfish, grouper, and tilapia.
“Producers, wholesalers and government entities needs robust tools to combat seafood fraud,” said Steven Guterman, chief executive officer of InstantLabs. “InstantLabs’ real-time PCR testing systems and reagent kits can become an integral part in a testing program to verify labeling accuracy.”
InstantLabs’ Hunter® Real-Time PCR instrument combines accuracy, speed, and ease-of-operation into a compact portable system. The Hunter system is designed for use at points-of-need to detect and analyze a wide variety of food samples by targeting DNA. Results delivered quickly allow seamless integration into food industry firms’ processes and facilities.
Dr. Robert Hanner, Ph. D., has directed the University of Guelph’s research in conjunction with InstantLabs. “This collaboration has been essential in commercializing DNA-based food authentication tests for the seafood industry,” said Dr. Hanner, associate professor at the Center of Biodiversity Genomics. “This technology will help safeguard against existing supply chain vulnerabilities, protecting both businesses and consumers from food fraud.”
InstantLabs identification tests are designed for use on the Hunter, a real-time PCR system developed by the company, and are also available for use with other PCR instruments.
Seafood industry reports continue to highlight concerns about fraud, species substitution and consumer preferences to use sustainable fish stocks. Approximately one-third of all fish sold in the U.S. was mislabeled, reported a recent survey from Oceana. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration identifies a range of lower valued fish regularly substituted for 20 higher-priced species. InstantLabs will provide critical tool sets needed by the industry to ensure the integrity of the supply chain.
InstantLabs, a molecular diagnostic device company, developed and markets the Hunter® Accelerated-PCR system, a fully-integrated, easy-to-use, portable and affordable real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) platform for rapid, accurate pathogen detection. InstantLabs Medical Diagnostics Corp., the legal entity, offers the Hunter® system for use with several food-borne pathogen test kits for the global food industry. The Hunter® system is especially well suited for use at points-of-care and points-of-need to detect and analyze a wide variety of common and problematic pathogens. InstantLabs’ growing worldwide customer base includes some of the world’s leading food companies. InstantLabs is also developing products for additional markets, including medical diagnostics where gold-standard accuracy, combined with Ease-of-use and rapid results, are critical. Founded in 2008, InstantLabs is located in Baltimore, MD. For more information please visit www.instantlabs.com.
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Additional resources on seafood fraud: