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Applied Markets Watch: Life Technologies Food Safety Testing


Life Technologies last week announced two initiatives to expand its food safety product offerings.

First, Life Tech said that it is partnering with PIKA Weihenstephan to provide molecular testing products to detect spoilage organisms in the brewing and beverage market.

The partnership will focus on the use of PIKA Weihenstephan's Fast Orange Nutrient Broth, which contains an indicator that changes color if growth of the target organisms occurs. It can be a stand-alone method, but in combination with PCR-based tests from PIKA Weihenstephan that run on Life Tech's real-time PCR instruments, brewers can shorten time-to-result by several days and increase the level of information obtained from the brewing process, Life Tech said.

Life Tech said that it is now the only supplier to provide both enrichment media and PCR kits for beverage quality and safety. The company will also offer consultancy services for brewers to understand and respond to positive test results.

"The partnership with PIKA Weihenstephan shows Life Technologies' commitment to go beyond pathogen testing by providing the same level of high-quality testing solutions for spoilage organisms, which are a constant threat in the brewing and beverage industries," Nir Nimrodi, vice president and general manager, Animal Health & Food Safety, at Life Technologies. "For major brewing labels in particular, protecting consistency in product quality and making sure their beer tastes good, is a critical component to brand protection."

PIKA Weihenstephan is a spinout of Technical University Munich and is located in a major hop-growing region of Germany. The company develops products and methods for microbiological analysis for breweries.

Life Tech also said last week that it has become worldwide distributor for several RT-qPCR assays from the European Centre for Expertise and Research on Microbial Agents, or CEERAM.

Specifically, Life Tech will distribute assays to detect norovirus GI, norovirus GII, and hepatitis A, as well as a mengovirus extraction control kit from CEERAM. Until now, these products were only available in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, but will now reach the global market through Life's supply channels.

Human norovirus is the most common cause for food-borne disease outbreaks in the US. It causes 800 deaths, around 21 million illnesses, and 70,000 hospitalizations each year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Globally, tens of millions of individuals contract hepatitis A and norovirus each year.