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Precision Biomonitoring awarded grant to detect pathogens in food


April 28, 2021
By Bakers Journal


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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) awarded a grant to Precision Biomonitoring to develop  rapid and mobile testing to improve detection of food borne pathogenic bacteria.

Project BISTRO aims to develop a rapid but thorough solution to detect harmful bacteria, including listeria and salmonella, with greater sensitivity than current state-of-the-art testing technology.

“As food borne illnesses rise, it will be important that Canada is equipped with the innovative tools and resources that will enable bacteria detection before products reach stores and consumers,” said Dr. Mario Thomas, CEO, Precision Biomonitoring in a statement. “We are looking forward to being able to potentially improve food borne illness detection that will ensure the health and safety of Canadians.”

Project BISTRO is an ultra-portable, low-cost platform that uses on-site sample preparation tools with an integrated enrichment step to extract nucleic acids from various contaminated sample types. Using highly sensitive amplification coupled with digital lateral flow devices, the solution will be able to deliver reliable detection results in less than two hours. Project BISTRO is an adaptation of Precision Biomonitoring’s successful TripleLockTM platform, which was approved by Health Canada to support rapid testing needs in response to COVID-19.

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“If successful, a portable tool like this could  help reduce risk in food supply by detecting food borne pathogens throughout the farm-to-fork continuum,” says Tammy Switucha, Chief Food Safety Officer for Canada and Executive Director, Food Safety and Consumer Protection Directorate, CFIA. “The CFIA appreciates the work being done by Precision Biomonitoring to support innovation and evolve with rapidly changing technology that can help keep our food supply safe.”

The device will provide food producers, farming and agriculture operations, distribution centres and large-scale grocers with peace of mind that they are providing their customers with safe food and produce.

CFIA has awarded Precision Biomonitoring a Phase I grant through the ISC program to continue development of Project BISTRO. If successful, Precision Biomonitoring will apply for an additional grant for Phase II, which would enable the partners to bring Project BISTRO from concept to commercialization.