News from Hygiena

The RiboPrinter has been used by food safety professionals and in healthcare settings to characterize bacteria down to the strain level, but a recent Czech study has extended its capabilities to discovering new species of Staphyloccus in Antarctica. The RiboPrinter helped determine two new species, and also helped scientists find new genes that controlled resistance to antibiotics. The study underscores the reliability and versatility of the RiboPrinter system and illustrates usefulness in more traditional food safety and healthcare settings. You can read about the research in our case study here

SystemSURE Plus™ points to dirtiest parts of New York City

What would you think is the dirtiest spot in Manhattan, New York? A public toilet handle, subway pole, or a bank ATM?  

If you guessed the ATM, you’re correct! A New York Post article featured a financial products employee as he used the HygienaSystemSURE Plus™ Sanitation Monitoring System to test various points around Manhattan, including 20 bank automated teller machines (ATMs). Relative light unit (RLU) readings ranged from 68 for a subway pole to over 500 for a well-used ATM. Of course, Hygiena’s ATP technology is supposed to be used after cleaning to verify your efforts, but the article points out to sources of potential contamination that can be found anywhere. Find out more from the article here

HygienaUltraSnap™ Surface ATP test receives AOAC® validation, compares to other certified methods 

The UltraSnap™ Surface ATP Test, used with the EnSURE™ Monitoring System, was recently given a Performance Tested MethodSM certification from the AOAC® Research Institute. A comparison with the Neogen AccuPoint™ Advanced ATP Hygiena Monitoring System shows that the UltraSnap system is about 10 times more sensitive and provides significantly more consistent results. Learn more from our technical bulletin here.

Hygiena announced the AOAC Research Institute, one of the world’s most recognizable product certification organizations, has issued its Performance Tested Method certificate to the UltraSnap™ Surface ATP Test for identifying the possible presence of microbial contamination.

As required for AOAC-RI certification, Hygiena used a third-party laboratory to test the results of UltraSnap on stainless steel surfaces in five food matrices, essentially reproducing a food processing facility.

The test results showed very low limits of detection (down to 0.77 relative light units {RLU}, the measure generated by ATP-based luminometers). The results also showed that UltraSnap was able to detect ATP from surface soiled by food and beverages, at dilutions of 1:1,000 or lower. The UltraSnap was shown to be highly selective for ATP, stable and consistent, and to have no statistically significant variability.

The validation marks the first of Hygiena’s ATP-based test products, and only the second ATP monitoring device, to receive an AOAC certification.
“We are delighted that the most used ATP system around the world has been verified and validated for its accuracy and sensitivity by the AOAC,” said Steven Nason, Chief Executive Officer of Hygiena. “This validation is helpful for certain customers and government bodies around the world and validates the claims we have been making on the system for years. ATP testing is the fastest and most effective way for food processing facilities to determine cleanliness levels and accurately identify areas that need attention before food is processed which helps keep our food supply safer.”

ABOUT AOAC PTM
The AOAC Performance Tested Methods (PTM) program began in 1992 and has evolved into a premier method certification program for proprietary methods. Methods certified as Performance TestedSM were found to perform according to the manufacturer’s documented claims and are used throughout the global marketplace and within the regulatory arena. The PTM program offers certification as an endpoint for method evaluation or as an entry to method validation for programs requiring increased confidence and method reproducibility information. PTM certification includes licensing the method developer to use the Performance TestedSM certification mark.

When the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was discovered nearly 35 years ago, it ushered in a revolution in biology. However, at the time of its discovery, few scientists or engineers foresaw how the technology would lead to another type of revolution in food safety. Today’s PCR has become highly automated, making it much easier for nonspecialists to operate the samples, handle the instruments, analyze data, and retrieve invaluable results. The machines themselves also have become more compact and cost-effective enough to be placed in most major food processing facilities and some retail locations, as well as third-party laboratories.

A Hygiena white paper has been published in Rapid Microbiology that reviews how PCR works, describes how any PCR technique depends on high-quality assays, and shows how the technique has been adopted to search for E. coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Vibrio, and certain yeasts and molds.

Actero™ Elite Enrichment Media for the BAX® System reduces sample handling, improves throughput and time to results

 

(31 May 2018) Hygiena, a Warburg Pincus portfolio company that specializes in rapid food safety and environmental sanitation testing, announced that it has begun selling Actero™ Elite Enrichment Media, validated for use with the BAX® System real-time PCR assays for Listeria and Salmonella.
The two Actero™ Elite Enrichment Media formulations, produced by FoodChek Systems, Inc., are known in the industry for superior quality, single-step enrichment allowing for reduced sample handling, reduced enrichment media volumes, and faster time to results.
“We are delighted to be able to provide Actero™ Elite Enrichment Media to our BAX® System customers, which enables them to improve their ability to detect pathogens in food or environmental samples,” said Shannon Bullard, global product manager at Hygiena. “This partnership provides customers with industry leading technology providing accurate and efficient pathogen detection that is easy to use resulting in faster product release.”
William Hogan, FoodChek President & CEO, said, “We are very pleased with the opportunity of working with Hygiena and its outstanding food safety testing expertise. Hygiene’s competencies, reputation of food safety excellence and global reach make them an ideal partner for FoodChek in bringing our Actero Elite Enrichment Media to the food safety testing market.”
The Actero™ Elite Enrichment Media is formulated to suppress the growth of non-target organisms while promoting the growth of target organisms. Together, Actero™ Elite Enrichment Media and the BAX® System can provide environmental detection results in 22 hours for Listeria and 16 hours for Salmonella. The products are available in powder and liquid MediaBox™ formats. Other benefits of each media formulation are:
• For Listeria species assays, time to results can occur between 18-26 hours depending on sample source, and they feature a single-step enrichment.
• For Salmonella species assays, time to results can occur between 14-26 hours depending on sample source, and they feature a single-step enrichment.
Hygiena’s BAX® System PCR Assays have been certified as a Performance Tested Method by the AOAC Research Institute (AOAC-RI), and are also approved by Health Canada, the country’s national health agency, for use in food and environmental surface samples.

ABOUT FOODCHEK
The FoodChek Systems Inc. mission is to be the leading global developer and provider of proprietary rapid and accurate food safety tests for the detection of foodborne and environmental pathogens and other microorganisms throughout the human and pet food production chains. The company's expertise is in the development and commercialization of proprietary rapid, accurate and cost-effective food safety tests focused on the detection of Listeria spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella spp. under the Actero™ Elite Enrichment Media brand of products. FoodChek is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

AOAC Certifies BAX® System Real-Time PCR Assays for Non-O157:H7 STEC in 25g Flour and Ground Beef

(7 February 2018) -- Hygiena, a Warburg Pincus portfolio company that specializes in rapid food safety and environmental sanitation testing, today announced it received extensions to its AOAC-Research Institute validation for the BAX® System Real-Time PCR Assay Suite for STEC for two additional matrices: 25g flour and 25g ground beef. AOAC-RI validated the assay as equivalent to the reference culture method for detecting shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), but with faster time to results.

 

“We are delighted and proud to receive certification from AOAC for these two matrices, which demonstrate to producers and regulators that Hygiena’s BAX® System is an approved method by a recognized accreditation body,” said Dr. Martin Easter, chief scientific officer of Hygiena. “These methods are important tools to help reduce the occurrence of recent and serious outbreaks in these products.”
The flour validation was executed to help US and Canadian producers avoid contamination issues that have persisted in flour, cake and pancake mixes and raw dough since 2009. The 25g ground beef validation was completed to support European beef producers needing an accredited method for detection of STEC. These producers now can use the BAX® System with confidence that results are accurate and are certified as reliable and reproducible.
Hygiena’s BAX® System Real-Time PCR Assay Suite for STEC validation in 25g ground beef samples was shown to provide reliable and accurate results within a workday, supplying necessary information on pathogen presence. The real-time PCR assay could also accurately, and relatively rapidly, detect STEC in flour samples that, because of their dryness, have defied efforts to detect the bacteria.

 

About BAX® System
Food processing companies around the world rely on Hygiena’s BAX® System to detect pathogens or other organisms in raw ingredients, finished products and environmental samples. The automated system uses PCR technology to detect Salmonella, Listeria species, Listeria monocytogenes, E.coli O157:H7 and STEC, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio, Cronobacter, Shigella, and yeast and mold. Many of these tests have been certified by AOAC and AFNOR and/or approved by government agencies globally. For more information about the BAX® System please visit www.hygiena.com.  

 

About AOAC
The AOAC Research Institute was incorporated in 1991 as a wholly owned subsidiary of AOAC INTERNATIONAL. The RI serves as an independent, third-party, nongovernment administrator of AOAC conformity assessment programs including the AOAC Performance Tested MethodsSM (PTM) and Official Methods of AnalysisSM (OMA) programs for alternative and sole source methods. The AOAC Performance Tested MethodsSM (PTM) program began in 1992 and has evolved into a premier method certification program for proprietary methods. Methods certified as Performance TestedSM were found to perform according to the manufacturer’s documented claims and are used throughout the global market place and within the regulatory arena.

NBC "Today" Show Brings Hygiena to the Gym

(18 January 2018) --Your gym workout may expose you to unwanted bacteria, according to a recent story on the NBC “Today” Show. The morning program used Hygiena’s SystemSURE Plus Cleaning Verification System and UltraSnap™ Surface ATP Tests to measure cleanliness levels on popular gym equipment, including weights, mats, and treadmills. To learn the results and see how you can protect yourself, watch the video.

Click the here to watch the video

Joint USDA/FDA study using BAX® System microbe identification points to sources of grocery Listeria contamination

Pathogens can lurk at any point in grocer supply chain, long-term research finds

 

(31 August 2017) -- A three-year multistate Listeria bacteria contamination study conducted by the USDA, FDA and academic scientists found that pathogenic and benign forms of the bacteria can lurk in common groceries, and can occur at any point from delivery to final consumer purchase. Listeria monocytogenes is particularly challenging to food safety systems because it can survive at refrigeration temperatures.  Because ready to eat foods can easily transmit L. monocytogenes, the USDA and FDA conducted the major study to look at the prevalence of the pathogen in grocery stores and ready-to-eat facilities in stores and delis.

While the incident numbers in this study appear low, the results are significant because L. monocytogenes is a leading cause of death from foodborne illness, especially among vulnerable consumers such as children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.

The USDA/FDA “Market Basket Survey,” conducted from 2010 to 2013 at groceries in California, Maryland, Connecticut and Georgia, used the Hygiena BAX® system, which utilizes polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology to quickly and accurately detect microbes.

“We are pleased that this significant and comprehensive market basket survey selected the Hygiena BAX® Q7 system to accurately detect possible pathogens in groceries,” said Kyle Rhoden, BAX® system product manager at Hygiena. “We are proud to have pioneered the application of PCR technology to food safety many years ago and for our partnerships with government agencies and food companies in ensuring a safe food supply.”

The study found that of 27,389 samples from 16 food categories, the proportion containing the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes ranged from zero in soft-ripened and semisoft cheese to 1.07 percent for raw cut vegetables. For Listeria-like organisms (which may or may not be pathogenic), proportions of positive samples ranged from 0.79 percent for the same cheeses to 4.76 percent for fresh crab meat or sushi.

The study also found that L. monocytogenes contamination did not vary according to packaging location (either by manufacturer plant or at the grocery itself), or by the type of store (national versus local grocery brand), suggesting that contamination is possible at any point in processing, storing and selling food.

The survey did reveal some good news—samples of delicatessen meats, seafood, cheese, and salads showed a significantly lower rate of contamination incidence than the same study conducted by the same group 10 years ago.

The USDA has adopted the Hygiena BAX® system into the USDA’s Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG), a reference for microbiology methodologies used to protect the nation’s food supply, marking another level of acceptance of the BAX® System by the food safety industry. The system has been adopted by the agency for detecting L. monocytogenes, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and non-O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC).

The BAX® System is a breakthrough genetics-based screening method that detects target bacteria in raw ingredients, finished food products and environmental samples. The automated, easy-to-use system has been available since 2000, when the BAX® System revolutionized rapid food pathogen testing.  More than 20 years later, the trusted, tried and true technology of the BAX® System continues to be in use by governments, food companies and laboratories around the world.

The study, “Survey for Listeria monocytogenes in and on ready-to-eat foods from retail establishments in the United States (2010 through 2013): assessing potential changes of pathogen prevalence and levels in a decade” was published in the Journal of Food Protection (Volume 80, No. 6, pages 903-921).