One of the greatest challenges of the pandemic, is to guarantee the safety of workplaces, especially in the agri-food sector, avoiding outbreaks leading to business disruption and, for some, even the active spread of the virus through raw materials or finished products, such as for frozen foods or meats.
The issue is important not only in terms of public health risk, but also from a trade balance perspective, with several cases of coronavirus contamination found on food packaging and surfaces.
BEAMitup, a project involving SwissDeCode (Switzerland), Microbion (Italy), IATA CSIC (Spain) and the University of Helsinki in Finland, was launched with the aim of monitoring the practices adopted by companies to ensure a rapid identification and management of outbreaks, and resilience after their containment.
Also, by developing new detection tools, the project intends to help companies quickly and efficiently detect contamination on working surfaces, raw materials and finished products, from Covid-19 and other microorganisms that could threaten food safety and business operations.
The survey will help in developing the new rapid testing device, giving insight on the needs of the industry.
The device, currently under development, works with wet swab or liquid culture matrices, and it is already able to complete a full analysis in one hour, with short hands-on time. The team is developing new validation tools for cleaning procedures, to be coupled with the detection device, which will have a testing time improved to 35 to 40 minutes. The final version is expected to be ready in early 2021.
Companies in the agri-food sector wishing to participate in the survey can do so here.