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Food safety testing

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NEOGEN, represented in Australia by Biolab , provides food safety tests that determine if the product has come in contact with a number of dangerous bacteria and substances. The company also provides investigative tools to determine how and when the contact occurred.

Rapid diagnostic test kits are available to detect foodborne bacteria, mycotoxins, ruminant byproducts (to help stop the spread of BSE), genetic modifications, food allergens, drug residues, plant diseases, and sanitation concerns in food contact areas.

Companies can use the test kits on raw material before it enters production, or on equipment or product at any point throughout the production process.

Rapid testing products for mycotoxins include screening and quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based tests for aflatoxin, deoxynivalenol (DON), fumonisin, zearalenone, ochratoxin and T-2 toxin. In as little as five minutes, testers can screen samples for the presence of aflatoxin, one of the most potent naturally occurring carcinogens known.

Immunoassays for pathogens, including the "big four" of foodborne pathogens, E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria and Campylobacter, can now provide results in as little as eight hours. The systems are easy to use and require only a relatively minor investment in equipment and training. To perform the test, an enriched sample is placed onto a test device. If antigens are present in the sample, a line will form in the test zone of the device. If not, only one line will form in its control zone.

Recent DNA hybridisation pathogen testing technology in a microwell format provides superior specificity with the ability to rapidly process up to 93 samples at a time. This test provides superior results with no more equipment or training than is required for the widely used ELISA kits. A major advantage of DNA hybridisation technology is its highly specific probes, which virtually eliminate false negatives and minimise the chance of receiving false positive results due to cross-reactivity with closely related organisms. Eliminating needless confirmation effort and cost helps streamline a company's safety and quality processes. DNA hybridisation technology tests feature easy to follow steps and absorbance readings to provide objective results. Following enrichment, samples are put through a series of reagent additions and washes. Samples are then inserted into a reader, where absorbance readings indicate the presence or absence of the target bacterium.

Neogen's food allergen tests for peanut, eggs, milk and almonds can detect allergens in 10 minutes when using the company's Reveal strip test format. The format combines the accuracy of previous rapid food allergen screening tests with the simplicity and speed of a dipstick format. After extraction, a tester needs 10 minutes or less to produce accurate and easily interpreted sample results. After dipping the strip into a sample extract, two lines will form to indicate the presence of at least 5ppm of allergen. If an allergen is not detected, only one control line will form to indicate the test has been performed correctly.

Neogen's comprehensive line of food safety testing products also includes its ISO-GRID's filter membrane systems and proprietary culture media. The ISO-GRID testing system for yeast and mould yields accurate results in 48 hours. Most other tests require 96 hours.

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