News from Hygiena

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). 

 


 

 

Hygiena expands distribution operations in Latin America

Purchase of PMR and creation of Hygiena Mexico establishes permanent base in Mexico City

 

(30 August 2017)—Hygiena, a Warburg Pincus portfolio company that specializes in rapid food safety and environmental sanitation testing, today announced that it has acquired Pruebas Microbiologicas Rapidas (PMR), a Mexico City-based distributor that has long served as an independent partner of Hygiena serving Mexico. The newly acquired company is now known as Hygiena Mexico, S.A. de C.V.

The creation of Hygiena Mexico creates a more permanent presence in the region for Hygiena, as the company continues to grow and provide key hygiene monitoring and molecular diagnostic equipment to customers in food safety, healthcare, and other fields.

“We are excited about working with Hygiena Mexico to capture the growing opportunities in Mexico,” said Steven Nason, CEO of Hygiena. “This acquisition is part of Hygiena’s overall strategy to increase access, service and support of its products around the globe.”

Hygiena Mexico is a fully owned subsidiary of Hygiena, and will continue operating its headquarters in Mexico City with six satellite locations in Mexico. The employees of Hygiena Mexico will become employees of Hygiena. The company will continue to market Hygiena products, including the recently extended Hygiena product portfolio which includes the BAX® System PCR instruments and RiboPrinter® System DNA fingerprinting system and other non-Hygiena branded products.

 

 


 

As Campylobacter becomes nation’s most common food pathogen, Hygiena BAX® System Assay becomes key screening tool against illness

Method adopted by USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

 

The potentially deadly microbe Campylobacter was named the most common infectious agent in food for the first time, shortly after the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) adopted Hygiena’s BAX® System Real-Time PCR Assay for screening Campylobacter jejuni/coli/lari in poultry rinse, sponge, and raw product samples.

The adoption into the USDA’s Molecular Laboratory Guidebook (MLG), which helps set guidelines for microbiology methodologies used to protect the nation’s food supply, marks another acceptance of the the BAX® System by the agency. The system already is an adopted method for detecting Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and non-O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Inclusion in the MLG is not a specific endorsement of a method, but an announcement that the BAX® System is one of the techniques used by FSIS labs.

Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Campylobacter, which most often infects poultry and is also found in raw (un-Pasteurized) milk, was in 2016 the most common food-borne pathogen, surging ahead of Salmonella bacteria, which had historically been the most common food pathogen. Campylobacter is believed to cause more than 850,000 illnesses in the United States each year.

The BAX® System method uses the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to differentiate common species of Campylobacter (C. jejuni, C. coli, and C. lari), with adjustable detection thresholds for each species. Results from using the system are available in less than 30 hours, compared to nearly one week for traditional cell culture/incubation methods.

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. Nearly 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.

In March, Hygiena completed the acquisition of DuPont Diagnostics, expanding its portfolio of food safety diagnostics products to include the BAX® System, RiboPrinter® System, Lateral Flow System, StatMedia™ and Dehydrated Culture Media product lines. 

 


 

HealthCanada Includes BAX® System Real-Time Genus Listeria as Validated Detection Method

Adoption of screening method points to reliability for identifying food-borne illness sources

 

May 24, 2017 – Camarillo, CA – Health Canada, the country’s national health agency, has included Hygiena’s BAX® System Real-Time PCR Assay as a validated method to screen surfaces for Listeria species, a potentially harmful group of microbes that is a common cause of food-borne illness.

The federal agency included the BAX® System methodology in its Compendium of Analytical Methods, a guide of official methods approved and used by Health Canada’s Health Products and Food Branch to determine compliance with government standards and guidelines, and investigate food-borne diseases.

“We are delighted to see the approval of the BAX® System by the Canadian government for helping investigate the role of Listeria in foodborne illnesses”, said Martin Easter, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Hygiena. “This also validates the BAX® System method for reference laboratories to help maintain the safety and quality of our food supply, and provide highly accurate results to help release products faster, and save inventory costs.”

The Health Canada Compendium includes a protocol for using the BAX® System assay, which allows a single-stage, 20- to 24-hour enrichment, and real-time PCR processing that allows detection of Listeria species on a range of environmental surfaces common to the food industry. Results are available in less than 24 hours, compared to several days for traditional cell cultures.

The Compendium lists several BAX® System assays detecting other organisms such as Enterobacter sakazakii, L. Genus, L. monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7, and Salmonella. In 2014, BAX® System Real-Time Genus Listeria performance was certified by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) Research Institute Performance Tested Methods program.

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 17 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.

In March, Hygiena completed the acquisition of DuPont Diagnostics, expanding its portfolio of food safety diagnostics products to include the BAX® System, RiboPrinter® System, Lateral Flow System, StatMedia™ and Dehydrated Culture Media product lines.

Hygiena delivers rapid microbial detection, monitoring, and identification solutions to a wide range of industries, including food and beverage, healthcare, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, and personal care. Utilizing advanced technologies and patented designs, Hygiena provides industry-leading ATP monitoring systems, PCR-based pathogen detection and characterization systems, allergen tests, environmental collection devices, and more. Hygiena is committed to the mission of providing customers with high-quality innovative technologies that are easy-to-use and reliable, backed by excellent customer service and support. Headquartered in in Camarillo, California with offices in Wilmington, Delaware, the United Kingdom and China, and over 80 distributors in more than 100 countries worldwide, Hygiena products span the globe.

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Dr. Martin Easter Appointed Chief Scientific Officer for Hygiena

MAY 02 - Dr. Martin Easter has 30 years’ experience as an industrial microbiologist, and studied for his PhD in Aberdeen where he developed his interest in rapid microbiological methods. Martin has over 15 years’ experience in industrial food microbiology, developing implementing and researching rapid methods.

Martin, General Manager and recently appointed Chief Scientific Officer of Hygiena, is dedicated to the development of rapid methods based on ATP bioluminescence. Hygiena has revolutionised ATP hygiene testing by developing liquid–stable reagents and low cost instruments which has improved performance, reliability and affordability. Hygiena has had rapid growth to become a leading global supplier of ATP test systems in the Food industry, leading the way in food safety. Hygiena’s most pioneering development is the novel bioluminogenic assays which for the first time makes the ATP reaction specific for specific organisms giving results in the same. Commenting on the new position Martin said “I am delighted to take up the role of Chief Scientific Officer for Hygiena and look forward to enabling the business to continue its strong growth through the development and application of rapid detection technologies in support of quality and safety assurance”.

Hygiena delivers rapid microbial detection, monitoring, and identification solutions to a wide range of industries, including food and beverage, healthcare, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, and personal care. Utilizing advanced technologies and patented designs, Hygiena provides industry-leading ATP monitoring systems, PCR-based pathogen detection and characterization systems, allergen tests, environmental collection devices, and more. Headquartered in Camarillo, California with offices in the United Kingdom and China, and over 80 distributors in more than 100 countries worldwide, Hygiena products span the globe. www.hygiena.com

With the recent acquisition, Hygiena has expanded its portfolio of food safety diagnostics products to include all of DuPont Diagnostics’ business assets, including the BAX® System, RiboPrinter® System, Lateral Flow System, StatMedia™ and Dehydrated Culture Media product lines. The combined product portfolio enables Hygiena to provide a more comprehensive suite of products and solutions for its global food and beverage customers.