Rapid detection of coronavirus on food processing surfaces enabled by EU funding

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

The companies are building a diagnostic platform to improve the on-site testing capacity of the food industry. Pic: Getty Images/anyaivanova
The companies are building a diagnostic platform to improve the on-site testing capacity of the food industry. Pic: Getty Images/anyaivanova

Related tags: coronavirus, COVID-19

A new partnership between five European companies and research institutions is receiving funding from EIT Food, in order to build a diagnostic platform to improve the on-site testing capacity of the food industry, delivering results in less than one hour.

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

A joint project between SwissDeCode (Switzerland), Microbion (Italy), IATA CSIC (Spain), University of Helsinki (Finland) and Eurofins (France) has been awarded €790,000 from EIT Food, as part of the COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation projects.

The funding will support the development of a platform to help food companies quickly detect the presence of coronavirus on food processing surfaces.

In light of the challenges faced by the food industry due to the COVID-19 crisis, monitoring of the virus will continue to be essential, even in a post-crisis phase. The platform developed will allow the food industry to minimize the chance of disruption caused by contaminated working environments or food products.

The platform is an automated testing device that will be installed directly at the food processing facilities, providing results in less than one hour with no need for complex instrumentation or specialized personnel.

The technology allows the incorporation of a varied group of tests within the food industry, including other emerging viruses.

The development and validation of the device will be ongoing during the next few months and the partners expect it will be market-ready by the end of the year.

SwissDeCode​ is at the forefront of food authentication, compliance and safety, offering rapid, on-site DNA detection solutions to help boost confidence in the food supply chain.

Microbion​ provides services to the agri-food and pharmaceutical industry to unravel the potential of microbiology to boost safety and quality through innovation.

IATA CSIC​ is The Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA), created in 1966, a center of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Its scientific-technical objective is to carry out research on the production of sustainable and quality food, taking into account its safety, health impact and consumer acceptance.

The University of Helsinki​ is undertaking research projects on COVID-19.

Eurofins ​Scientific, through its subsidiaries, undertakes testing in food, environment, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products and in agroscience CRO services. It also performs testing and laboratory services for genomics, discovery pharmacology, forensics, advanced material sciences and for supporting clinical studies.

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