Rapid detection of coronavirus on food processing surfaces enabled EIT Food

A new partnership between five innovative 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.

Food processing John Lambeth on Pexels

In light of the challenges faced by the food industry due to the COVID-19 crisis, fine monitoring of the virus will continue to be a must, even in a post-crisis phase

Detecting the presence of coronavirus on food processing surfaces

A joint project between SwissDeCode (CH), Microbion (IT), IATA CSIC (ES), University of Helsinki (FI) and Eurofins (FR) has been awarded €790k from EIT Food, as part of the COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation projects. This funding will support the development of a platform to help food companies to 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, fine monitoring of the virus will continue to be a must, even in a post-crisis phase. The platform developed will allow the food industry to minimise the chance of disruption caused by contaminated working environments or food products.

The platform is an automated testing device which will be installed directly at the food processing facilities, providing results in less than 1 hour with no need for complex instrumentation or specialised personnel. The flexibility of this 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 that it will be market-ready by the end of the year.

About the partners

SwissDeCode (CH): SwissDeCode, member of EIT Food “Rising Food Stars”, is at the forefront of food authentication, compliance and safety, offering a variety of rapid, on-site DNA detection solutions to help boost confidence in the entire food supply chain.

Microbion (IT): Microbion, member of EIT Food “Rising Food Stars”, is a partner of choice in molecular microbiology providing cutting-edge services to the agri-food and pharmaceutical industry to unravel all the potential of microbiology to boost safety and quality through innovation.

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

University of Helsinki (FI): The University of Helsinki is an innovative centre of science and thinking and one of the best multidisciplinary universities in the world. A number of research projects concerning the COVID-19 disease are ongoing at the University.

Eurofins (FR): Eurofins Scientific through its subsidiaries is the world leader in food, environment, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products testing and in agroscience CRO services. It is also one of the global independent market leaders in testing and laboratory services for genomics, discovery pharmacology, forensics, advanced material sciences and for supporting clinical studies.